Perched above Western Australia’s Swan River, on The Avenue in Nedlands, nestles the sun-drenched Gallery House with its distinctly contemporary design with clean lines and cubic forms. Perth-based Craig Steere Architects were enlisted to create the perfect dwelling for a family with four teenage sons, needing to strike the optimal balance between privacy and connectivity. Designed to be elegantly timeless, the house features a dramatic pergola structure extending through the house, tying the series of pavilions together into a fluid home.
Responding to the request to accommodate the growing independence of the children, while simultaneously functioning as a family home, Craig Steere of Craig Steere Architects says, it “manifested as a design of two semi-transparent pavilions connected physically by a gallery space housing communal functions. Slimline, sliding glazed frames allow the family to remain visually connected to each other while being able to acoustically contain activities between the pavilions.”
The gallery space is open and minimal in nature, with a pool running alongside the pergola, which is visible through glass panes. Internally, it is fitted out in black and white, with a striking black marble island floating in the centre of the kitchen. The ceiling features a series of alternating slats that create a rippling effect throughout, providing a sense of linearity.
“One of the challenges was to gain quality natural light into all spaces, whilst affording occupants privacy from the street,” comments Steere. “This challenge proved to be a wonderful opportunity to introduce design elements such as ribbed structures along the lap pool and staggered slat screens that partially obscure views and visually connect the pavilions to each other. A disciplined palette invites natural light into the interiors and provides a crisp, clean backdrop for furnishing.”
The bathroom continues this monochromatic theme, with large mirrors reflecting the black walls and floor, as well as the crisp white and steel of the fitted fixtures. To Steere, “Bathrooms go beyond ablution functions, they form part of one’s ceremony in retreating from the day, and into a relaxing and tranquil space. Fittings therefore become a part of this thought process: how do they feel to touch, are they easy to use, do they feel luxurious?”
To achieve this sense of leisure and alleviation, Steere collaborated with Rogerseller, and fitted the bathroom with the inviting Apaiser bath, Catalano Star Washbasins, Fantini Fukasawa tapware, and Acquatonica Shower Panel to create an organic showering experience. Of key importance to Steere was that the fixtures maintained a balance of quality and design aspirations, imparting a sophisticated statement in the bathroom space. The minimalist fitout gives the bathroom a sense of solitude in contrast to the larger communal spaces.
Clean lines continue in the exterior. Steere observes, “My favourite part is the seamless transition between outside and inside, with slimline glazing frames that effortlessly slide away to allow full enjoyment of the breeze and natural daylight. Often materials extend from inside to outside to create a continuous reading of finishes, blurring the distinction of where the house stops and the natural environment starts”.
This sense of continuity ties Gallery House together as a cohesive whole, creating a seamless environment that allows for privacy whilst still allowing for natural light to enter. The pergola gallery running between the two principal pavilions invites the residents to come together as a family, whilst also allowing for the option of separating, and taking time and space apart. Overall, its distinctive design and colour palette makes Gallery House an aesthetic delight on The Avenue.
Craig Steere Architects
Photography by Jack Lovel