This one-bed, one-bath home fulfils the goal of a joyful and simple suburban residence while respecting its place and location.
Built in the backyard of a sub-divided bungalow property in Mount Lawley, the dwelling has been designed to fulfil the homeowner’s simple brief – a small, affordable home with a yard and a ‘messy space’ for a studio.
Inspired by time spent in small modern apartments in Berlin during a creative sabbatical, the client sought a combination of carefree living and creative working in a home that was simple and easy to care for.
The result? A spatial arrangement that allows the client to use the whole of the house in an informal, spacious manner, or to apply control with a workspace opening to the lane for visitors and a bedroom separated by a simple linen curtain.
Architect David Weir explains that the project references the surrounding workers’ cottages and tool sheds, and presents an alternative to Perth’s pursuit of unsympathetic densification.
“Greater urban density shouldn’t need to translate to boundary-to-boundary development while ignoring its site and neighbours,” he said.
With this in mind, the design eschews unnecessary floor area for a backyard, and limits internal walls to allow for open space, natural light, breezes and views beyond the limits of the house.
“Our approach to environmental sustainability is based on good fundamental design matched with a combination of budget and client buy-in,” David said.
The home uses as little space as possible to satisfy the function, meaning less space to heat, cool and illuminate, and less embodied energy overall. Cooling is through insulation, shade and air movement from wall-mounted fans and windows that catch the south-west breezes, while heating is created via north-facing windows and concrete floors. Lighting is provided through appropriately positioned apertures.
“We also went to great lengths to protect and maintain the mature jacaranda tree and its spreading branches, which provides sun cover throughout summer, and acts as a second roof and as eaves that limit the heat load on the black building.”
The living room floor is raised to protect the large roots of the tree, which rise up from the ground.
The materials used inside and out split the building into weatherboard cottage and corrugated studio (a reference to the shed at the bottom of the garden).
The clean white walls and ceiling of the residence give way to the more handcrafted wood linings of the workshop.
The house is tied together with the simple yet durable concrete floor running throughout the home.
The yard is paved with concrete council pavers rescued from a local renovation.
David Weir Architects
Photography: Dion Robeson