Suburban Beach House
Suburban Beach House by David Barr + Ross Brewin, in coastal Perth, Australia, architecturally combines the origins of the client couple and challenges the convention of the large brick house typical of the area’s emerging development.
- The designers took functionality to be the key element in their project and since the site has a lot of limestone on it they lifted the house above it so that the terrain below it became a shaded garden. Thin metal pillars suspend the house and provide a dynamic aspect to the structure.
- The design is one that resembles a beach house, with its elevation above ground, no garage or fence and the materials used don’t include any bricks, thus making the house “a beach house in the suburbs” as the designers said.
- The interior is divided into a day area and a private night zone through a corridor that is also a study thus providing a modern and functional design that takes care of all the needs of the young family inhabiting the residence.
This beach house may look unusual on the outside, but the architects at David Barr & Ross Brewin developed a highly functional layout. The plan of the house is rationally divided into day and night zones with the separating corridor fattening at one end to become a study nook. Overall, it is a residence that challenges the conventions of detached housing in Perth.
The exterior is clad in white colorbond steel weatherboard for its low heat absorption and interiors are skinned with recycled and renewably sourced timber. The airiness of the building perched above angled galvanized steel beams belies its modest 150 square meter area and delivers a high degree of openness and spatiality. Aside from enjoying far-reaching lines of sight, the home benefits from a plethora of passive systems, like north solar gain and significant cross-ventilation. moreover, the home is a highly considered composition of space, what with an on-grade ‘tucked-under’ room and clever use of on-site resources such as the existing limestone ridge-cum-retaining-wall. This is an architecture that reclaims the strengths of the environment and reinterprets materiality in a way that is at once sensitive to the local architectural heritage and a novel model for appropriateness in the built form.
David Barr Architect & Ross Brewin Architecture & Urbanism:
A residence for a young couple and their future family. The project is conceived of as a combination of the humble qualities of a West-Australian beach shack and the climatic and underside-utility benefits of a Queenslander.
The house is lofted above a natural limestone outcrop which becomes a shaded garden terrain below the belly of the home above. The plan of the house is rationally divided into day and night zones with the separating corridor fattening at one end to become a study nook. West facing windows are minimised to shield the house from the searing afternoon sun. This ‘blankness’ is regulated by two ‘flicks’ in the wall, one opening toward the south-west to scoop in the ‘Fremantle doctor’ for cooling and the other towards the north to frame a view up the coast and to monitor the driveway below.
A generous outdoor room to the north-west capitalises on panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. A small room is tucked under the house at the rear, providing a flexible space that could be a 4th bedroom, back-yard pavilion, home office, or games room. Overall, it is a residence that challenges the conventions of detached housing in Perth: small, lifted above the ground, no front door, no garage, no front fence, no brick… a beach house in the suburbs.
Project name: Suburban Beach House
Location: 19A Beach Rd, Coogee, 6166 Perth, Western Australia
Coordinates: -32.11243, 115.767469
- Type By Characteristic: Contemporary House
- Type By Site: Countryside / Suburb House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Structural: Wooden House
Project Area: 150 sqm
Project Year: 2011-2012
Completion Year: 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
- David Barr Architect – Unit 4 / 83 South Street, Beaconsfield 6162, Perth, Western Australia
- Ross Brewin Architecture & Urbanism – L2, 181 Smith St, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria 3065, Australia
Text Description: © David Barr Architect, Ross Brewin Architecture & Urbanism
Images: © David Barr Architect, Ross Brewin Architecture & Urbanism, Robert Frith