Most full time office workers would feel that those of us who work from home are living the dream. Yet anyone who has worked from home regularly will attest it’s not always as great as it sounds. Those who do work from home successfully cite a range of self-disciplines that are crucial to having a productive workday at home, the first of which is always having a separate dedicated workspace within the home. Aside from the occasional hour here and there, the kitchen table does not cut it as a home office…
Recognising the ever emerging sector of people working from home and starting home-based businesses, along with the fact that many Australians still have large backyard spaces that are often not fully utilised, Melbourne architects Bill McCorkell and David Martin have designed a collection of pre-fabricated outdoor studios and workspaces simply called The Backyard Room.
In a variety of floorplans ranging from 5 to 45 square meters, The Backyard Room was devised to create a range of fixed, fully enclosed workspaces that were comparatively hassle free and cost-effective against pursuing a one-off design and build project.
After a floorplan is selected and its variable elements (such as kitchenettes, bathrooms, shelving and storage) are chosen by the customer, each unit is built to order and delivered to the site for installation, where they are then craned into place (or in more compact sites, delivered in parts and assembled on site).
Through streamlining of construction and installation, a Backyard Room achieves a price per square meter of $2500 – $3000sqm, compared to around $4000sq engaging with a designer and builder. A typical turn around from order to delivery and installation is four weeks.
Designed and built in Victoria with sustainable materials including glazed windows, low-energy light fittings, low VOC paints and ceiling, wall and floor insulation, each Backyard Room achieves a six star green star rating.
Not surprisingly, McCorkell, who is also behind the pre-fabricated housing studio Archiblox, says the idea came simply while having a beer in a friend’s backyard. “It was a single fronted terrace in Northcote, with a long backyard… They wanted to put a studio space in the garden, but weren’t sure where to start”.
Observing that that additions under 10sqm don’t require a planning permit, McCorkell saw the potential to create ready made studio pods that could be simply dropped into place without long phases of planning, design and construction.
“Optimising an underutilised backyard space is one of those things many out there are ‘meaning to get around to’, but often don’t. So creating a simple solution to having a clear workspace in the home, while providing that important disconnect from home and work, is something we see making a lot of sense”.
The Backyard Room
by Matt Hurst