A Concrete Home Inspired by Historic Brutalist Structures Rises in Western Australia
For Neil Cownie Architects, the design of Roscommon House started with research into what made the site unique. The first feature that stood out was the area's legacy of modernist and brutalist buildings.
"As I began the design process for Roscommon House, the iconic Brutalist concrete shell roof structure of the suburb’s Surf Life Saving Building was demolished, and the local council threatened to demolish the much-loved Brutalist concrete South City Beach Kiosk," Cownie said. "This blatant disregard and misunderstanding by the local authority of the importance of the suburb's unique architectural heritage led me to take particular inspiration from those two buildings."
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The firm took a photographic survey of the remaining modernist buildings in the area, finding seventy still intact. They then studied their common characteristics to draw inspiration for Roscommon House.
Its location in a "garden suburb" five miles west of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, was also an important influence. This "garden suburb" was created in the 1960s and it incorporates wide blocks and substantial parklands. In order to honor that history, the landscaping at Roscommon House "blurs the boundaries of inside and out by the use of ‘pocket’ courtyards and roof terrace gardens," said Cownie.
For the interior, Cownie emphasized material consistency and the handmade. The design carries the exterior concrete finish inside, where it meets timber cabinetry and walls, as well as bespoke lighting and furnishings designed by the firm.
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"Through the design of Roscommon House and through our community engagement, we are taking every opportunity to create an appreciation and awareness of the unique architecture of this area to both the local community and to the local authority," said Cownie. Most importantly, the firm's research has imbued Roscommon House with a "strong sense of belonging" to its site.
Builder: Mosman Bay Construction
Structural Engineer: Cenit Structural
Landscape Design: Plan E Landscape Architects
Cabinetry: Samuel Cabinetry