While in Barcelona I’m looking up a lot. The buildings are beautiful and often there is a decorative tile mural right at the top. But I’m also noticing how people use their balconies. And how maybe in Australian cities, we can rethink how to do a balcony right.
Purpose or function of a balcony
Not all balconies are created equal. If you live somewhere and have a view, the purpose of your balcony is to admire that view. For example, one of my Southbank projects, the client had a great view of the Arts Centre spire, the Yarra River, the MCG and the Botanical gardens.
But not all balconies have views, and not all balconies are a good size. Some balconies like the ones I’m seeing in Barcelona are too small for even a chair. So, what’s their purpose? I think their purpose is decorative mostly.
The iron work in creating balconies in period architecture can be intricate and beautiful. Some people use them for laundry drying and plants but I’m not seeing a lot of outdoor furniture on balconies in Barcelona.
How to do a balcony right in Australian cities
There are many types of balconies, but I think the balcony in Australian cities should not be considered a replacement for a back yard. I get this feeling from my apartment clients. By this I mean, depending on its size it may not be suitable to have a BBQ on your balcony or a herb garden or other things seen in Australian backyards.
Often, I see BBQs on balconies just sitting there covered and hardly used. It just doesn’t feel right to be cooking on a barbie on a balcony in a city. Especially if your balcony is surrounded by other apartments.
An apartment in the city is different to a house in the suburbs. Both these types of residences suit different lifestyles. From what I know from my apartment living clients is that they’re out a lot enjoying the city.
In this case the balcony in a city partment is perfect for plants and maybe drying your laundry, if it’s big enough. The addition of greenery and plant life to an apartment is much more functional and desirable than a BBQ.
Form follows function on balconies
It’s an over used term in the architecture and interior design industry but it’s true: form follows function. What this means is that city apartment balconies where not designed to replace a backyard and accommodate a barbeque.
So, if you have a balcony think carefully what your lifestyle is like. How do you live? How much time do you spend in the apartment? Have you ever spent any time sitting or standing on your balcony to admire the view with a cup of coffee?
Carefully thinking about function and how you use the balcony is key to adorning it or not. While you might have plants on your balcony you could also have nothing like the people in Barcelona.
And just accept the balcony in your city apartment as an extension of your glass sliding door, that is enjoy the natural light. So now you know that and function is the key to how to do a balcony right in apartments in Australian cities.