Vasse House by Joshua Duncan Architect is located in a sandy residential estate about three hours out of Perth.
The fast-growing development is filled with properties that often consume 75 per cent of their block, with two-car garages, theatre rooms, and inefficient floorplans that push the living and alfresco to the rear, no matter the orientation.
Joshua took the opportunity to create an alternative, that was still comparable both in cost and amenity, keeping within a building budget of $260,000.
‘The house was designed to respond to the generic brief of the local residential suburbs — typically a detached three or four-bedroom house with two bathrooms — but to do so in a way that supported changing living arrangements and flexible occupancy,’ Josh says.
He designed two ‘pavilions’, each with two bedrooms and a bathroom, connected by a large central living room. This clever sense of separation allows the bathrooms to be used by a household or used as private ensuites.
‘At the moment I live in the west end of the house and run my architectural practice from the street-facing room, while a housemate rents out the eastern bedroom and bathroom,’ Josh explains.
The 141-square-metre house is also enveloped by a sprawling native garden. Every habitable room has a glazed sliding door which opens onto the veranda inspired by the traditional Japanese engawa, ensuring the spaces are light, bright, and breezy, with garden views.
But the build was ultimately an exercise in restraint. Simple forms and conventional construction materials, including concrete slab flooring, walls made from lightly sanded plywood and prefabricated roof trusses all helped keep the building cost down. The external cladding was built from a variety of metal metal sheeting, while the built-in cabinetry to a minimum, which had a ‘significant impact on both the budget and adaptable planning of the dwelling’.
Josh says the resulting Vasse House proves that a ‘well-designed and financially accessible house is possible, even in the context of a standard residential estate’.
‘The project draws from a variety of pragmatic, aesthetic, and spatial references, combining these influences to create something positively Western Australian – a relaxed house of shaded refuge, with prospect over a narrow veranda to a native garden.’