Hyde Park House
LOCATION: Mount Lawley, Perth
BUILDER: Formview Building
ENGINEER: Cenit Engineering
ENERGY CONSULTANT: The Study
BUILDING SURVEYOR: WA Building Certifiers & Assessors
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: CAPA
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Robeson Architects
FURNITURE: District Furniture
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dion Robeson
The Local Project
LOT SIZE: 578m2
HOUSE SIZE: 411m2
Situated on a busy street, the Hyde Park House seeks to maximise views to both the leafy Hyde Park across the road and the city skyline, whilst maintaining the privacy of the family. Whilst not in strictly a heritage control zone, both neighbouring properties had character homes on them, and the local council was very prescriptive and unyielding when it came to permitted external materials, street setbacks and building forms. The challenge was to design a home that was not trying to replicate a character home, but was contemporary to suit the needs of the family and fit in with it’s streetscape, not imposing on it given it would be two storey and the neighbours were single storey.
THE BRIEF & DESIGN RESPONSE
The brief called for a long-term home for the couple and their 4 children and puppy, together with a music room for Liz, the owner, to teach in, as well as a pool.
The conceptual response to site, context and brief was to split the home lengthways down the middle, with the eastern side sitting on natural ground level with a first floor over and basement for cars under. This let us comply with height limitations placed on the property. The western half of the home we decided to keep single storey and allocate to the living areas (kitchen, dining and lounge). We lifted this ‘wing’ 0.5m above natural ground level which provided privacy from cars and pedestrians on the street (also through the use of a solid planter box balustrade) and also meant we could create high and interesting ceiling heights and volumes over the living areas (spaces used most often) and still comply with height requirements. This raised living wing allowed for better views of the park’s trees while blocking out the busy traffic and cars parked below. Lines of sight were drawn at planning stage from eye levels of both pedestrians on the street and the occupants sitting at their dining room table, to ensure the living wing was raised at the right height for privacy. The full height Vitrosca glazing to the dining room slides back into a pocket enabling the dining room to stretch out to the terrace, forming one larger indoor / outdoor room that feels external yet protected.
While the dining room faces south to the views, the lounge was located at the opposite end of the living wing to the rear of the house facing north. This enabled us to design glazing and eaves for maximum winter sun penetration and no sun penetration during summer. The lounge opens onto a large back yard with a raised pool and pool deck.
The pool deck and pool were raised so that when sitting in the pool, you can see straight through the living wing to the leafy views of Hyde Park and beyond. The high ceilings, and tall glazing allowed for this opportunity to pick up the view from even the back corner of the block. Raising the pool also removed the need for a layer of pool balustrading, as the height of the pool effectively formed this barrier protection. The pool wall is clad in a burgundy Japanese ceramic tile, with recessed landscape uplighting to light it at night. CAPA landscape architects provided concept design for both front and rear garden areas, including the shape of the pool which is curved, contrasting nicely with the rectilinear building forms.
The driving intention of the design was for it to be ‘of its place’ and sympathetic to the streetscape and adjacent heritage properties. The design aims to be a contemporary interpretation of the character of the street and neighbourhood rather than a replication of a specific era of character homes.
Much thought was given to ensuring the materials selected where sympathetic to the surrounding buildings. Bone-coloured stuccoed walls are used on the western portion of the home, being a more rich colour version of the neighbour’s walls to the west. The eastern portion of the home was clad in a reddish-brown handmade face brick, echoing the red brick used prolifically in the neighbourhood. The brown and blue tones in the brick complimented the charcoal accents elsewhere in the building. The face brick wall has a slight curve to it which subtly references the art deco homes which are predominant on this street, and softens the edges of the façade of the building. Deep, raked joins were requested for the facebrick to form deep shadows and texture to these walls. Many samples of mortar colour were trialed on site to ensure a muted charcoal, further highlighting the brick itself.
This feature brickwork carried through to the rear / north elevation through the BBQ plinth and the outdoor dining seat. The seat wraps around the garden forming the steps from the lounge the grassed area. The burgundy pool wall tiles pick up on the reddish hues of the face brick.
Internally the materials are pared back and minimal. The walnut timber cladding featured on the external front door wraps internally around the dining room and entry to conceal a hidden powder room and store. When opening the concealed door into the powder room, there is a juxtaposition from the calming walnut timbers and ivory floor tiles, to a strong and angular sage wall tile.
This timber cladding is also featured in the master suite, wrapping around the walk in robe and forming a cabinetry unit in the ensuite. The ensuite and bathroom were intentionally kept paired back and minimal to create a calming retreat.
The kitchen was kept clean in a bone colour selected to match the walls. As the kitchen is in the narrowest point of the home, the all white cabinetry helps enhance the sense of space without over crowding the area. This keeps the focus to the views either side, to the park and to the back yard.
Very thin 6mm porcelain bench tops were selected in the kitchen to maintain this minimal theme. These porcelain slabs were also used in the ensuite vanity, while the bone floor tiling from the living areas was used on the walls and floors in bathrooms to keep the material palate paired back and neutral.
SUSTAINABILITY & PASSIVE DESIGN
Thermally broken double glazed windows were used throughout. Minimal windows were placed on the eastern and western façade, with the majority facing north to maximise the homes energy efficiency. The upper floor construction was reverse brick veneer which is much better suited to Perth’s temperate climate than the preferred double brick construction that is so prevalent. Behind the charcoal metal cladding was a 30mm layer of foil board and additional insulation batts.
Solar panels on the roof power the homes electrical needs, including powering the underfloor hydronic heating which is piped through the tile screen on ground floor and under the timber flooring on the first floor. While in summer ceiling fans in all rooms are utilised to assist in air flow. Operable windows are located strategically to encourage Perth’s ‘freo doctor’ to cool the home in summer afternoons and push out hot air
- This home is all about highlighting the external natural environment and providing comfortable spaces to appreciate and look at it. The house was designed for the clients brief, and with a lot of program it was able to be squeezed onto the block while maintaining a decent back garden and planting areas.
- Gaining approvals from council was challenging, with them effectively imposing heritage protection zone level requirements upon the property. In response, the home was carefully designed as to read predominantly single storey from the street. This was achieved through a considerably increased first floor setback. This first floor is only present over the eastern half of the property, and is clad in charcoal sheet metal to further enhance its recessive nature.
- We love the hidden powder room concealed in the timber clad ‘entry pod’. When opening the hidden door, you are exposed to a vibrant fully tiled powder room with funky geometric tiles. It juxtaposes nicely with the very calm and clean home, and can only be found if you know it is there. To keep a consistent theme throughout the home, we used these Mutina tiles in the bottle recesses to the other bathrooms as well.
- Tiling the pool was also more complex than originally anticipated. We lost one tiler in the process as it was deemed too difficult. Robeson Architects had to model up all the tiles individually in a 3D model to prove it could be done. The second group of tilers, understood the assignment and did an amazing job. It was executed perfectly.