Moveable home is a top idea
WATCHING the culmination of her dream of the past decade hovering on a crane many metres off the ground in the middle of the Hobart CBD, property developer Brett Torossi began to wonder if she had made the right decision.
More than just a living space, the Omnipod is about a new approach to design, construction and the way people live.
The brainchild of Ms Torossi and brought to life by architect Craig Rosevears ( a partnership which has previously resulted in the Rocky Hills Retreat), the pod at the top of 152 Macquarie St is a pilot version of the concept which provides a level of flexibility that could potentially fulfi l a person’s housing needs for their entire life, no matter how many times they move around the state, country or globe.
With a fondness for modular building and “anti- McMansion thinking”, the idea for a moveable home is one Ms Torossi has had for at least 10 years. It slowly started to be realised after she purchased 152 Macquarie St six years ago, with the intention of adding the pod on top.
“I thought the rooftops were dead, under utilised, extraordinary spaces where we were only putting microwave link towers,” she said.
“I was in St David’s Park and I looked up at the building and thought it was attractive and had good bones.
“For a long time we worked on putting additional floors onto that building, but the current economic climate in Tasmania is not conducive to doing that work and it may be some time before that work can happen.
“So in the meantime, I thought why not utilise the roof space.”
Constructed in Launceston and fitted out in a shed at Electrona, the pod was lifted as one piece, with much of the kitchen and bathroom already in place, via a crane to the top of the nine- storey building in January.
Much of Macquarie St was closed off as the work went on overnight, with everything in place by around 4am.
“I found the lift exhilarating and terrifying because usually when we build stuff it’s incremental,” Ms Torossi said. “I remember thinking as it was swinging around in the air, ‘ What on earth are we doing – it was perfectly good in the shed!’ It was surreal.”
The glass- fronted apartment has views over St David’s Park, the Hobart waterfront and across to the Eastern Shore, with a veranda running the length of the pod.
At 17m long, the two- bedroom unit hangs over both sides of the offi ce block.
It is currently used as accommodation under the name Avalon City Retreat.
A beautiful Huon pine bathtub is the highlight of the outdoor entertaining area at the rear.
In a great juxtaposition of old and new, an antique door sits upright against the wall next to the flat- screen TV.
Ms Torossi picked it up at her favourite market in Italy.
“There’s a fabulous market in Arezzo, Umbria, and it’s always got some weird, crazy and interesting stuff,” she said.
“I spotted this door miles away and it was coming home with me before I even got within 50 feet of it.”
Interest in the design and concept has come from as far a field as Sydney, so we could be seeing more pods popping up.
The Omnipod project has been nominated in the new houses category of the 2013 Tasmanian Architecture Awards.
“For Craig to be recognised by his peers is a real honour,” Ms Torossi said.
“We’re really blessed with a fantastic architectural community in Tasmania who have honed their skills and art from a tradition of not having a lot of money for projects. So they’ve had to really step up and do a great deal with a lot less than other people do in Sydney and overseas, and that’s why they’re so good.”