BUILDING Optimism

Belle Magazine Australia|May 2020

BUILDING Optimism
Melissa Bright of Studio Bright has forged a robust foundation on which to express her architectural values.
KAREN McCARTNEY

Studio Bright’s Melissa Bright was photographed exclusively for Belle on the 8 Yard House site in North Fitzroy, Melbourne.

HEADING TO INTERVIEW Melissa Bright, the director of Melbourne architecture practice Studio Bright, I experience a sense of deja vu. The office location is on a floodplain next to the Yarra River in Kew where I had met architect Peter McIntyre 14 years before to visit his groundbreaking Butterfly House (1955) for my book on iconic Australian houses. “Our team has created a much loved home in a barn conversion that embeds our daily work in nature,” says Melissa of this extraordinary, bucolic site. Contrarily, much of the work of the practice is determinedly urban. “Give me a tight, tricky inner-city site any time. We frame it as optimistic problem-solving – a nice way to think of the puzzle,” she adds.

The studio has recently re-branded from Make Architecture to Studio Bright, and that process called for a degree of soul searching. “It was a chance to reflect on what we do and what we believe in. You have to drill down into values, really examine who you are and ask where does it go from here?” Even the tone of the words on the website got an overhaul, with Melissa determined it would be direct and open with an absence of ‘archi-speak’ to better communicate their drive for good places and responsible cities.

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May 2020