MELBOURNE – Brad Wray and Nicholas Russo, co-founders of Branch Studio Architects, collaborated in the design of their new studio, which directly reflects the principles that the two architects apply in their practice. Namely, ‘the narration of space’. They set the stage for their work in the middle of an apple orchard in Officer, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, taking advantage of the surroundings and the inspirational views.

From the materials used to the organization of space, this is an irreverent project, especially when you consider its location. Why an apple orchard?
Brad Wray (B.W.): Nick had been working with his father in his sculpture studio at the apple orchard his family owns. Given the sculpture studio was already present on the site, which included a wood & metal workshop, we thought it would be an interesting testing ground for building and experimenting. We often find ourselves out in the workshop testing ideas. Moreover, the orchard is a good half way point for us both to meet, collaborate and bring together our creative thinking from varying points of context.

What about the iron cladding?
B.W.: Several days leading up to the timber cladding installation, we did a tidy up around the site and came across a large heap of corrugated iron. We realized that it would be a far more contextual and dynamic option, given its rich patina of rust and colour formed over years of sitting out in the weather. As the layers went on, our studio became a container for layered memories built on the relationship between raw and refined materials.

Just as the studio merges with the orchard through the use of corrugated iron, so does the inside space seem to merge together. What kind of work-environment did you intend to create?
B.W.: Open, flexible and filled with light. We wanted the office to be an exploration and reflection of our ideas as a practice and to create an environment that was embedded within the orchard and vice-versa.

Images courtesy of Branch Studio Architects.

*This project was featured in Mark #43's Cross Section*