CASA MIA explores a sequence of spaces oscillating between the intimate and personal and the public and community that are entwined by a dual coloured face brick skin. This perimeter skin performs the role of the architectural mask, an adaptable layer that simultaneously reveals and conceals internal moments, blurring existence and relationships.
We introduced a few fundamental rules, the primary rule being to minimise building waste, to work with off-shelf materials, components and sizes and allow these to guide design. A significant exploration involved minimising brick wastage and therefor brick cutting.
The perimeter mask of bricks hugs site boundaries, this is perforated, sliced, corbelled, thickened, punctured and eroded. The skin shifts between density and lightness, thickness and thinness often revealing itself as a place of inhabitation, a seat and fireplace engaging with the street, semi concealing outdoor bathing areas, moderating temperature to terraces and courtyards while filtering view in and out.
The mask allows us to live with privacy while inhabiting the public realm, resulting in charged spaces where muffled voices may be heard and only distorted signs of inhabitation revealed. This privileges the occupant providing a level of control over their relationship to a higher density form of living.
The ground level spaces create an intimate relationship to a shared public park, this is a social space and our garden of play. As one progresses deeper into the home, spaces become more intimate, opening to a large courtyard.
The hanging stair includes amber light reflecting on to glazed bricks, Nonna’s 1950’s sliding door hovers above us, a special memory trigger and daily reminder of family connections.
A secret elevated terrace contains a spiral stair leading to a roof top terrace. This is a liberating space, a place to breathe while reflecting on distant views of ocean and escarpment.
photos: Robert Frith