One of the last houses to be built in a residential subdivision along the coast south of Fremantle that has all but erased the area's industrial heritage to make way for a cluster of mostly nondescript suburban homes. Explicitly intending to mark the (recent) history of the site, the house draws inspiration from the factories and warehouses that once occupied the area, reinterpreting these utilitarian building typologies to form a house that embodies the aesthetic and generous qualities of living in a warehouse. For this family of five, the generous provision of space and volume has been prioritised and the use of material and detailing has been kept simple, robust and direct including exposed brick, burnished concrete, butt-jointed plywood, strapped fibre cement sheet and lapped polycarbonate.
The house incorporates a central courtyard that creates a sheltered outdoor space and a means of getting light and air deep into the long plan and has a terrace at the northern end that engages with the public park opposite. Dual sliding doors offer flexible partitioning between these outdoor spaces that are set either side of the main internal living space. Upstairs, the design of the roof deploys an industrial saw tooth profile to create a large upstairs volume, using the sawtooths to spatially divide the large common area and permit diffuse light into the series of rooms strung along the narrow plan. The house is bordered on both sides by wide neighbouring houses and challenges the zero side boundary planning design guideline by bringing each side wall in from the boundary to ensure cross ventilation to all rooms can be achieved.
The two short elevations reference the proportions of old factory glazing and utilise shading elements made from recycled raw steel. The pergola at the northern end will, in time, be covered with a deciduous vine that will provide shade in summer and allow the sun to enter the house in winter. All of the steel used in the project is upcycled from a nearby industrial facility, including the shading elements, the structural beams and columns, stair stringers and balustrades, and gate mesh. Disused timber scaffolding planks are also reused as the courtyard and terrace decks. The garage is clad in translucent polycarbonate, naturally lighting this typically dark space and creating the possibility that it could be used for something other than parking the car.
Project Collaborator: David Barr
> Awarded in the 2019 Houses Magazine Awards in the Sustainability category
Photographs by Dion Robeson