Graffiti usually happens to buildings after they are constructed, but this Melbourne house was tagged right at the start of construction - on purpose. Designed by Zvi Belling of ITN Architects, this sustainable green renovation is located in a dense urban Carlton neighborhood and features the word "HIVE" on its exterior, emblazoned in precast concrete letters. Belling had asked local graffiti artist Prowla to come up with the wild-style lettering, which plays an integral part in the design aesthetic of the home.
The Hive Apartment was once home to an old Carlton tailor shop, but was renovated to become Zvi Belling’s home. The brick facade was covered in swooshes, letters, arrows, and drips of concrete, to create a permanent graffiti installation. Belling enlisted the help of his friend and neighbor, Prowla, to design the HIVE letters, which were precast and installed before most of the major renovations took place. The Hive Apartment is now a permanent fixture in the neighborhood, and the robust public art fortifies the internal spaces into a calm refuge.
In addition to the renovation of an existing building in a dense urban neighborhood, Belling of ITN Architecture made sure to outfit his home with plenty of green strategies to reduce his environmental impact. Concealed sliding panels reveal louvered ports that enable cross-ventilation in the rooms. Unusual door arrangements minimize temperature exchange between zones, thus reducing the energy needed to regulate temperatures. A solar-power system is located on the roof to provide electricity, and a water storage tank resides below the car park area for rainwater collection. Reusing available building materials and designing a home with a small footprint also greatly reduced environmental impact.
Images ©Patrick Rodriguez and Zvi Belling