Deco dream

Home of Joe Chindarsi of Chindarsi Architects, Union Street Residence is a cross between a saw-tooth warehouse and an art-deco bungalow, blurring the lines between industrial and residential.

The North Perth home sits on a 207sqm sub-divided portion of the backyard of a c.1928 transition Indian-Californian bungalow.

Created from a desire for a beautiful home integrated with local context, it is environmentally sensitive and requires minimal maintenance.

“I would have to say that it was much more difficult designing my own home compared with designing for a client, as I was much more questioning and self-critical with each of the design decisions,” says Joe Chindarsi. “I was also developing a new language of materials that I hadn’t really tried before, so there was a lot of design experimenting going on in terms of the geometries within the home and references to the Deco era.”

Sculpted roof forms scoop in light and air, whilst providing a north-facing roof area for harvesting solar energy.

The shard-like forms echo back to Deco-Era Expressionism, evident in the use of angled zig-zag and chevron patterns, which sought a break from the past to reflect a new modernity.

Through consideration of natural light, material selection, and ESD design principles, the home is not only physically comfortable to live in; it’s also financially sustainable for the future.

“I’ve used a fair bit of reverse brick-veneer construction, which is ideal in Perth’s climate from a thermal performance perspective,” explains Joe.

The floors were a result of an issue with the laying of concrete, which ended up uneven and unsuitable for traditional polishing. By putting a leveling compound over it and then a cementitious coating on top, the result is exactly what Jo wanted. “The simple steel-trowelled concrete finish gives a lovely movement and softness in appearance, which has turned out even better than the intended original finish.”

The home offers a lovely contrast between commercial finishes such as concrete, stack-bonded brickwork and stainless steel and more residential finishes such as timber and stone.

Layered over this is deco-era decorative elements and finishes such as Japan Black oiled timber, triangular brass mosaics, and laser-cut screens that pick up on the beautiful lead-light patterning in the window of the neighbouring original home.


Chindarsi Architects

Photography: Dion Robeson