Text description provided by the architects. The intention for the project was to create an expressive, distinctive and dynamic home. Shutter House is an imaginative and unique new home situated in Wembley, Western Australia overlooking picturesque Lake Monger (traditionally referred to as ‘Keiermulu’ by the indigenous Noongar people). A concrete block structure is enveloped by a delicately layered secondary timber batten 'skin'. An operable façade opens and closes, creating a sense of enclosure and intimacy whilst still allowing unobstructed views to the adjacent lake at the leisure of residents, the vertical profiles cause a dynamic play of light and shadow within.
The home's lakeside context directly informed the design. Maintenance of views and access to the corresponding Northern aspect was paramount throughout the project’s conception. The facilitation of the operable timber screen allowed for views and dappled light to infiltrate the house whilst allowing the occupant control of privacy and asserting stewardship of interaction with the streetscape.
The project was conceived as a showcase for not only local design and building talent but also local materials and suppliers. Endemic stringybark timber was utilized in the façade screens, and local suppliers were integral in the procurement of all fixtures and fittings. Aside from connectivity with the immediate context, the design was heavily influenced by Japanese architecture, with an emphasis on the honesty of materials, craftsmanship, and adaptability of space. Shutter House is representative of the diverse, inclusive, and ever-changing Australian society and the successful amalgamation of dialogue from a varied pool of sources and imbued with a sense of place that is tangible throughout the home.
The decision to work with the existing topography of the site to create a layered floorplan contributed to a reduction in significant earthworks which was beneficial in terms of responsible land use. Sustainability consideration to the build included the passive cooling and shading provided by the openable shutter on the front façade. Through the animated and dynamic movement in the façade, the North facing site is able to harness and control the ingress of light and shade through the building to suit the time of day/year/season. Local materials and suppliers were used heavily and, in some areas, structural materials are exposed and celebrated reducing carbon footprint and supporting local industry.
This home presents a distinctive expression in its' urban context - an idiosyncratic interpretation of contemporary housing that channels 'traditional' Western Australian home design, Japanese influence, and face that interacts with passersby in a way that has enlivened and inspired the local community. Its' tiered layout, working with the challenging topography is a resourceful approach to reducing earthworks but also informing an interesting and nimble flow of movement. An elegant amalgamation of textures, colour and material is a daring undertaking, the outcome is an audacious home unlike any in this locality.
This project presented a unique opportunity to be quite animated with our design, both architecturally and with the interiors. We were still an emerging practice when we started the design for this project, and we had found in the past clients would hesitate to explore the possibility of bold colour when it came to their homes. We wanted to demonstrate that colour could in fact be sophisticated and mature and that when juxtaposed against natural materials and a nuanced external palette could be highly successful. Shutter House is designed at its core to be expressive; it provokes you to look closer and longer at things - it does not hide. We took pride in creating interesting spaces with the use of materials and their applications. The home floods with light and when the light catches these materials it makes for an interesting expression. Creating a degree of domesticity and familiarity, Shutter House explores the potential of its robust material palette and the essential qualities of texture, space, and light.
Shutter House is a celebration of vibrant colour, rich textures, light, and shadow. The home is an exploration of tactility, a balance between powerful and gentle sensations, and an experiential space throughout. Strong, rectilinear forms and graphic geometric lines are softened and offset by strategically placed circles and curves. There is a balanced tension in this contrast that is simultaneously stunning, exciting but also feels calm and balanced.