Future proof living – Perth

A home for a young family and grandmother (in the future) located in Mosman Park, Perth, Australia – all areas of the home had to be wheelchair accessible, complying with the gold standard of the ‘Liveable Housing Design Guidelines’ which calls for wider hallways, doorways, and circulation space generally. This also meant that Robeson Architects needed to address the slope in the site, through ramps and graded paths to enable a person to transverse from front boundary to rear boundary without going up or down a step.
The program called for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a home office, and a spacious living area. A key part of the brief was the inclusion of a ‘granny flat’, with its own ensuite and kitchenette, and a private entry. This space is to be used as a yoga studio until which stage the grandmother should move in. An off-street car bay is provided adjacent to this room, with an enclosed garage for two cars accessed from the right-of-way.
Sustainability runs through to the bones in this house, literally. Even the timber used in the wall studs and the cabinetry carcasses are ‘FSC certified’. It’s easy to forget these materials that are hidden from view, but when an owner is serious about sustainability and is prepared to invest in them it results in a greater sustainable outcome. The building is clad in recycled spotted gum, with the intention of it ‘silvering’ over time. A minimal amount of grey stain was added when sealing this timber, to promote a more even weathering (as some walls receive more sun than others).
Large slimline water tanks are tucked along the south of the site, with a greywater system providing water to the garden and toilets. ‘Green’ concrete was used for the ground floor slab, which was then lightly polished to a ‘salt and pepper’ finish. Solar panels are fitted to the first-floor roof, with provision for future battery storage. There is no air-conditioning in the home, meaning louvres and windows are strategically placed to capture the cooling south-westerly breezes, together with ceiling fans to move the air around.
The ground floor walls are ‘reverse brick veneer’ construction, a wall type that is highly suited to Perth’s temperate climate. The inner wall leaf is made from grey utility bricks, with no applied finish, allowing it to contribute to the thermal mass of the home. Extensive glazing to the north of the living wing is shaded precisely to allow maximum winter sun penetration and zero summer penetration. The angled ceiling over this living wing assists further in bringing that desirable light deep into the floor plan.

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