They say size matters – tell that to Rob van Gorp and architect Damien Chwalisz who have used Adelaide’s smallest block to make a big statement in modern house design.
Mining supervisor van Gorp, 35, bought the tiny 90sq m vacant block at 10-12 Hamilton Place, Adelaide – an allotment thought to be the smallest in the city – seven years ago after reading it was for sale in a Sunday Mail article.
“I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese microhomes, so I probably would have bought it even if it were half the size,” Mr van Gorp said.
He’s since transformed the site into a striking modern home using eight shipping containers.
“I engaged architect Damien Chwalisz a few years back and we tried a few different concepts and ended up deciding to utilise shipping containers to reduce the build cost and build time,” Mr van Gorp said.
“It helped reduce the build time because the structural elements could be designed off site and then we just bring them in ready to go.
“We basically had a level go up every fortnight.”
Construction started about two and a half years ago and the home was completed late last year.
The four-level home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two deck areas including a rooftop deck and a top-floor reading room offering views over the city.
“We still have a backyard and a fairly decent driveway,” Mr van Gorp said.
“It’s roughly 30sq m of living space per level and that’s not really including the two decks either.”
Mr van Gorp said, despite being set on a skinny block, the home’s clever design gave it a sense of space.
“It feels more spacious than it is because all of the windows are full height, they’re 2m wide by 2.5m high and there’s about amount the same amount of square meterage of glazing on the home as the actual land size,” he said.
“Most of the glazing faces the back of the property to let as much light in as possible.”
“You wouldn’t know it’s shipping containers from the outside – but there are some exposed elements inside where you can see that container living.”
Mr van Gorp says the home’s bold design and innovative building method had been well received by his neighbours.
“During the building process, everyone around the neighbourhood was intrigued,” he said.
“People would stop and come past and have a look and be in awe.
“The neighbours love walking past and they stop and have a chat.
“A couple of families said they had been interested in doing something similar but had never seen it done before.” Mr van Gorp said he’d love to see more people build homes using shipping containers.