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Freo shines at WA Architecture Awards

Fremantle architects are always on the podium at the WA Architecture Awards and this year was no different (even through the ceremony had to be conducted via video – you can watch it here.) Freo practices continue to shine in the residential category, with locals David Barr Architects, Philip Stejkal Architects , MDC Architects and Nic Brunsdon recognised for great design.

Whether an addition or a whole house, each of the awarded projects demonstrates the value an architect brings to the task. Clever thinking can transform space without attaching a huge price tag – ‘architect’ doesn’t mean ‘big and expensive’.

Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations an Additions)
Marine by David Barr Architects

Photographer: Jack Lovel

What’s the project?
‘Marine’ is a rear addition to a heritage brick cottage on a corner block in South Fremantle. The plan is straightforward – a kitchen and dining space on the ground floor; a master bedroom, bathroom and terrace above. Joined to the existing house by a corridor, the addition sits behind a limestone wall and appears as a freestanding dwelling.

What the Awards jury said:
‘This project is an exemplar which balances direct and hardworking ideas of architectural making with a small scope and a modest budget’.

Why is it good?
The new build looks very much at home amongst its older neighbours, a result of appropriate materials and scale. Constructed from brick, concrete and timber, the design takes its cues from the elongated windows, textures and timber of the attached and nearby dwellings.

The plan makes the most of the site. The downstairs space opens out onto sun-drenched, north-facing courtyard of recycled bricks. Windows are positioned to take advantage of views in all directions, and louvres allow for the sea breeze to be captured yet controlled.

The second storey terrace mediates the change in scale between old and new.

A welcoming archway provides a second entry.

The beautiful interior carries the outside materials in. Concrete floors and benches are complemented by a high, pale timber ceiling and finely-crafted joinery that lends refinement and warmth and gives the space cohesion.

This is a bright, light and breezy coastal home that feels very much of its place. Casual and inviting, yet sophisticated and stylish, it’s easy to imagine settling on the built-in bench in front of the louvres with a cold drink and a book, being cooled by the sea breeze.

‘Marine’ is shortlisted in the upcoming 2020 Houses Awards, alongside another David Barr project, King Residence. The practice’s Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project at WGV from 2017 has been highly awarded at a national level for design and sustainability.

Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)
Megalong by MDC Architects

Photographer: Dion Robeson

What’s the project?
Alterations and addition to a 1940s workers cottage in Nedlands. Working with the existing house and 90s extension, spaces have been re-organised and re-purposed to be more functional and create better circulation. A ‘mega long’ hallway now goes all the way from the front to the back door.

What the jury said:
‘The carefully curated sequence of adaptations pulls the project together into a single, staged and cohesive whole’.

Why is it good?
A simple design decision is the key to the success of this project. A central bathroom that blocked the front half of the house from the back has been removed and converted to a hallway. This has opened up a visual and physical connection through the house and also allowed the kitchen to be opened up to bring additional light into the home.

Open shelving between the kitchen and hallway adds a further layer of visual connectivity between internal spaces.

The front living room has been transformed into a rich, timber-lined study. Timber is used as a common material throughout the house, along with translucent materials that complement the existing house.

Another design move was to build a open timber fence between the back garden and rear laneway. This makes the back yard feel more generous and is an improvement to the otherwise unappealing laneway, making Megalong a ‘good neighbour’ that puts back into the wider precinct.

A sculptural rear carport uses a timber batton ceiling and translucent roofing to maximise natural light and forms part of a well-defined second entry to the house.

Read more on this project in the current issue of The Architect,

The dramatic new hallway connects front to back.
A beautiful timber insertion at the entry to the study.

MDC Architects is a small Fremantle practice with a focus on creating quality residential projects. At last year’s awards MDC received a Commendation in the Alterations and Additions category for the Broome Street Apartment.

Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
and Award for Interior Architecture
North Perth House by Nic Brunsdon

Photography: Ben Hosking

What is the project?
This new house on a small, narrow block took an unusual design and construction approach. Working with pre-cast concrete panels and a limited palette of materials, the result is a unique home for clients who were inspired by small-footprint Japanese living.

What the Awards Jury said
‘Innovation with design rigour is applauded’

Why is it good?
Architect Nic Brunsdon has created something truly original at the North Perth House.

To deal with the difficult infill site, the two storey house was constructed using custom precast concrete panels punctuated by arches. Some arches are left open, others are filled in with either timber or translucent panels.

This innovative approach has delivered a series of dramatic and surprising spaces. Larger, open spaces washed with gentle light contrast with dark, intimate spaces, creating a rich experience of different moods.

The North Perth house will be featured on Grand Designs next year and is shortlisted in the 2020 Houses Awards to be announced in August. Last year, Nic Brunsdon’s design for The Ting hotel in Bali was a Finalist at the 2019 World Architecure Festival.

The WA Lighting Award
South Terrace Mezzanine House by Philip Stejskal Architecture

Photographer: Dion Robeson, images supplied by Detail MC

What is the project?
A new mezzanine floor in the roofspace extends this home – once a corner store – to create a generous home-office. The addition takes advantage of ocean views and breezes, and funnels light down into the rest of the property.

What the Awards Jury said
‘A delightful and striking interior which bears evidence of a thoughtful design process incorporating artificial and natural lighting designed with intent from the outset.’

Why is it good?
This considered approach demonstrates how an architect can think beyond the brief to deliver more what was asked for. The addition provides additional space, and with it, additional light to the entire home.

The new build isn’t just plonked on top of the shop – driving past you might not even notice it’s there. Built back from the property’s edges, its scale doesn’t impact on the streetscape.

A series of windows with external shade louvres floods the new mezzanine with natural light, capturing the sea breeze and providing cross ventilation. The abundant light is cleverly directed into the lower parts of the home through the use of voids and steel grid mesh flooring.

Combined with carefully specified and integrated artificial light, the striking interiors look their best at any time of the day or night.

The new addition is discreetly set back from the property’s boundaries.
Custom furniture completes the home office.

Artificial lighting is concealed in the bathroom.
The mezzanine connects well to the existing two storey addition to the rear.

Philip Stejskal Architecture received the National Award for Alterations and Additions with their first project, a modest addition to a terrace house in Bellevue Terrace that was widely published and is currently for sale. Since then the practice has received multiple awards for its quality residential work.