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A Home and Studio For Mental Health

Following a doctor’s check-up that revealed a Vitamin D deficiency was having a huge impact on his work-related stress and anxiety, Melbourne-based architect Andrew Maynard knew he needed a naturally-lit change of scenery.

As a co-director of Austin Maynard Architects alongside Mark Austin, Maynard wanted to utilise his skills to return to a state of mental wellbeing. The result was ‘My-House’ (The Mental Health House), a renovation of a dark terrace that doubles up as Maynard’s family home and a shared architecture studio in the shop front space downstairs. The building was revamped with increased sunlight as a priority and bright elements of the colour yellow splashed throughout.

With Maynard recalling numerous clients placing emphasis on natural light, he decided to take it a step further by breaking design rules, letting in sunlight “where a house should not” and sacrificing thermal efficiency. The architect fondly describes My-House as an experiment that he lives in, with the new extension revealing itself to be a bright, elaborate greenhouse. A clear Thermoclick roof and large glass panes replacing walls sometimes leave the residents wearing sunglasses inside. The decision to upgrade and modernise what was once a dark terrace has provided a more happy and healthy environment for a home and studio.

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