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Stuart Harrison


18th October, 2011
Jenny Butler
Tuesday 18th October 2011

Today Stuart Harrison features the Fremantle House from his upcoming book Forty Six Square Metres of Land Doesn’t Normally Become A House. To win one of two copies of  this book, leave a comment on any of Stuart’s posts between now and 10pm Thursday – the winners will be drawn randomly and announced on Friday. Good luck! – Jenny x

Fremantle House as see in Forty Six Square Metres of Land Doesn’t Normally Become A House. All photos – Robert Frith

I love this house – and it represents how smaller, more compact housing can work in somewhere like suburban Perth. It’s designed by Simon Pendal & Rebecca Angus and is 105 square metres – with the three people living there, a young growing family, each person has 35 square metres each. This information is in the book for each project – a ‘data bar’ runs along the bottom edge, making some interesting comparisons. The piece of land itself for this Fremantle House is 225sqm, so the remaining land is vital outdoor space – the house doesn’t fill up the site. It’s interesting to work out how much space you have at home per person – I’ve got about 40 square metres which is enough I think.

Looking into the plywood clad living room from the internal courtyard

I used to live in Perth and often new suburban houses there are 400sqm metres – four times the size of this one! And often only two people live in them – 200 square metres each! To give a comparison, a decent bedroom is about four by three metres – 12sqm. Big houses are bad for the planet, and by building big houses on smaller sites we have lost those great suburban gardens that make living there pleasant. This house is moment of resistance.

All photos – Robert Frith

This house makes the most of its site – the plan is very clever and creates view gaps out to the garden, as well as making the central living space tall, and fully glazed (but shaded) to the courtyard, so it seems bigger. It’s a simple elegant palette of timber, plywood and concrete floors and doesn’t need air-conditioning because the windows are shaded and cross-ventilation is used. I went there on a 40 degree day last summer, the retained native trees shading the house, it was cool.


The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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