rames the rituals of its inhabitants, distributes light and facilitates ventilation all the while denying any reminder of the suburban context beyond its massive walls. The brief required us to come to terms with the idea of ‘a family of two’ – the couple, although living alone, often have their sons visiting for a few days at a time. Our answer to this component was to conceive two areas: the area for our clients and the area for the sons or guests. With a distinct hierarchy in mind, we organized the area for our clients around the central void while the other zone is located at the rear of the house. In this way the everyday activities of the two inhabitants are continuously framed by the central void, and protected by its material presence.
Strong winds and harsh sun are the major climate challenges when you design in Perth. Durable environmental solutions therefore must be embedded organically in the design, as additive solutions inevitably perish in the elements. The nature of being enclosed helps protect the inner space from the summer sun and the strong wind. The courtyard mediates the sunlight and facilitates consistent cross ventilation, extracting the heat from the house during the warmer months. The thermal inertia of the rammed concrete walls and the use of hydronic floors add further comfort to the space.
As is the case with all of our projects, we are interested in materials that tell you a story; materials that are washed out by time, with a natural feeling and texture. It is the timelessness of these materials that offer a sense of repose. Often born from conversations with artisans that we have encountered along our path, the materials were arrived at carefully and organically. Seeking this idea of timelessness, we needed a material presence that was monolithic and able to weather over time. Constructed utilizing an ancient technique called pisé, rammed recycled concrete walls comprise the entire vertical structure. Rough sawn red hardwood is oiled and used for the ceilings and joinery, and humble concrete pavers give a uniform rhythm to the floor. All of these materials softly and subtly reflect the light that enters the courtyard and is chromatically filtered by the vegetation.
Despite the complexities, the project’s response to both brief and context remains simple, and innate: the house is conceived as a solid enclosure ordered around a central void. The daily life of a couple unfolds around the vegetated courtyard which offers openness to the surrounding spaces that are in turn removed from their suburban context. A sense of enclosure is expressed through the materiality of the house, which is entirely constructed of rammed recycled concrete. The use of only few raw materials generates a harmonized background that in turn places the emphasis on the space and the inhabitants’ lives within.
CityFloreat, (Perth), Western Australia
Gross Floor Area (mq)200
Design teamMatteo Monteduro, Emiliano Roia, Andrea Quagliola, Mark Jecks, Elliot Lind
Main ContractorSubiaco Homes
ConsultantsStructural Engineering: HERA Engineering
Photo CreditsGivlio Aristide
Curriculum studio / partecipanteEstablished in 2001 by Matteo Monteduro, Emiliano Roia and Andrea Quagliola, MORQ is an internationally positioned yet locally engaged unique firm based in Italy and Australia. Its work, ranging from small scale residential and retail spaces to large landscape and urban plans, is the recipient of numerous awards and widely published internationally. The founding partners are also committed academics and regular contributors to design lectures and exhibitions.
'We are dedicated to the making of architecture: meaningful spaces within simple and thoughtful buildings. In dialogue with existing conditions, whether natural or built, we see constraints as a starting point for our design, rather than impediments to our creativity. We like spaces that are intimate yet open, engage with shades of natural light, change throughout the day and are activated by the emotive and sensorial qualities of materials.'
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