The East Fremantle House is a contextually responsive addition to a heritage-cottage in suburban Perth. The most important part of this house is the space that is not built – specifically, a large northern void – a space for sun, light, sky, sound, and breeze to inhabit. The house then traces this edge, creating rooms with immediate connection to the conditions. On the northern face of the addition, the form is simple and linear, allowing the southern mass of the building to be a living space conceptualised as one long ‘garden room’. The northern face of these spaces is lined with sliding doors, allowing the whole space to open up and allow the life of the house to spill out and occupy the full width of the site.
Formally, the house is expressed in four parts; the existing brick cottage, an entry-link, the ground floor addition, and the first floor addition. The entry link acts as a-mediating point, the connective tissue between the elements. Dark, hard and-solemn.
To the left upon entry is the existing cottage, restored and lightly amended.To the right, the garden room and living spaces which are, light, bright, and open, experientially a direct counter to the experience of the house.
Nic Brunsdon’s practice’s view of sustainability is that it is best done as a first principles thing and not an applied technology. Getting the orientation and subsequent program planning right is the most important thing. This project demonstrates that by placing the northern garden as the first design move on site. The building then becomes secondary and deferential to this. The garden, this void of space, gives measurable and appreciable amenity to the project and shows that an understanding of and connection can shape the rhythms, patterns, and quality of daily family life.