man with dog sitting at house garden
Photography: Dion Robeson.
  • Design reflected the history of Bayswater
  • 3D climate modelling was used on some elements
  • The addition was a 'striking contrast' to the existing weatherboard cottage

The most striking thing about Bayswater House is its lack of size. Simone Robeson of Robeson Architects was given a brief to create comfortable spaces on a smaller footprint, framing and celebrating the gardens that surround the house.

The locale

The suburb of Bayswater is situated on Whadjuk Noongar land, with the Swan River to the south, and was occupied by English settlers in the mid-nineteenth century.

In the late nineteenth century, Bayswater flourished following the introduction of the railway and is also when it attained its largely low-density residential character with detached homes set on large blocks.

bayswater house robeson architecture perth

The retention of this historical character was an important driver in the brief for this addition to Bayswater House, with the clients wanting a home with a clear connection to the natural environment.

The brief

Having lived in the house for a period of time, the clients were able to provide clarity in the brief. They wanted a relaxed space that would complement their collection of furniture, quality of light throughout the day and year and, as ardent gardeners, a strong connection with the fruits and vegetables of their labours.

bayswater house robeson architecture perth

Simone’s view that architecture works well when it serves “as a backdrop to the lives of the client” was evident in Bayswater House, with the original weatherboard cottage at the front of the site retained, renovated, celebrated and married to the addition to the rear.

The result

The elegant, functional, north-facing rear addition, clad in charcoal Shadowclad, recedes into the surrounding garden while serving as a striking contrast to the original white weatherboard cottage at the front of the property with its pitched terracotta tiled roof.

The addition is separated internally from the original building with both a level and material change. The new kitchen steps down from the original jarrah floorboards to the new rear burnished concrete floor of the dining area, which flows onto the new living area and then opens out to the garden to the north.

bayswater house robeson architecture perth

With access to northern and eastern light, the plan is orientated to create moments of delight and repose. The dining area has a large east-facing cedar frame, bi-fold window, with an integrated banquette seat, that opens onto a pocket of native garden and admits lovely eastern sun in which to enjoy a morning coffee.

bayswater house robeson architecture perth

The rear north-facing living room is a generous space, with ample access to light, and cedar sliding doors framing the beautiful gardens beyond.

The two new bedrooms face north to the views of the rear garden.

The ingenuity

To mitigate against the hot northern sun and to control the quality of light and heat received in the open plan living area throughout the year, Robeson Architects created a timber laminated veneer lumber beam, brise soleil arrayed both vertically and horizontally and joined at right angles.

man with dog sitting at house garden
Photography: Dion Robeson.

This sculptural element was created using 3D climate modelling to achieve the best outcome, and is arrayed to create an interstitial zone between the open plan living space and the garden beyond.

Admitting winter sun on the slab, where thermal mass is stored and released on cold winter nights, is just one of the passive sustainability features employed in the design where high levels of insulation and active cross-ventilation deliver maximum amenity.

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Written by Jonathan Speer. Photography by Dion Robeson.

This story was originally published in The Architect magazine, an official publication of the Australian Institute of Architects. It has been edited for republication by The Property Tribune. 

The Property Tribune thanks the Australian Institute of Architects for the opportunity to republish the work, and shine a light on Australian architecture.

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