Deliberate restraint – Perth

Located on a small block in inner-city Perth the design design of the home responds by providing a variety of spaces, determined by a simple structural arrangement. Efficiencies of construction and economies of trade were key considerations for Nic Brunsdon architects in managing a tight budget and a difficult site with restricted access.
Concrete pre-cast panels are both the finishing material and the building structure. By using this commercial construction system as the main conceptual principle, the project was able to gain significant budget and time savings, while maintaining legible design integrity and innovation in housing type.
There are only two panel types in the project; one for the ground floor running east-west parallel to the street, and one for the first floor running north-south pointing to the city. The four panels on the ground floor support the four on the first floor and interlock like a lattice, staying secured by gravity with some lateral bracing.
On the ground floor these panels set the boundaries of privacy from the street-front back towards the rear of the property, each signifying a threshold leading deeper into the private life of the house. On the first floor, the panels rotate 90 degrees, giving long views back to Perth city on the south side and to welcome northern light into bedrooms. Moments of overlap allow for interesting spatial dynamics and vertical and oblique views through and out of the house
Each panel is punctuated with one of two types of arch, a grand arch and a pedestrian arch. The grand arch is provided for the more significant gestures in the house – prospect from the kitchen, a sun-shade to the rear, a hidden robe and a gallery window. The pedestrian arch is for clean perpendicular travel.
The material palette is deliberately restrained, raw concrete for the heavy and hard-working elements like the structural panels and the floor, timber for the intimate moments like furniture, kitchen joinery, balustrades and bedheads, and the translucent sheeting to mediate the hard east and west sun and provide soft light to the height of the interior spaces.
The simplicity of the design belies the complexity of the resulting spaces that are created; spaces that are compressed and dark, high and washed, raw and unfinished, and rich and intimate.

Photography © Ben Hosking

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