Perth-based firm Whispering Smith has unveiled a beautiful, concrete home that combines the best of brutalist architecture with sustainable materials. Built on a very compact infill lot outside of Perth, House A is an affordable and carbon-neutral home that was built with concrete, reclaimed brick, solar power and an underground water collection system.
The 753-square-foot home was strategically designed to make the maximum use out of limited building space. Where many architects would have taken a complicated route to create more out of less, the Whispering Smith team focused on creating a design that would use simple, sustainable materials to create a beautiful space with understated elegance.
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The home is clad in concrete made out of 65 percent slag, a byproduct of steel manufacturing. Along with the concrete walls, the home was built with reclaimed bricks, which were also incorporated into the surrounding landscape. Concealed from view, a water collection tank is underground and solar panels are installed on the roof.
The home’s volume from a distance cuts a stoic figure, with light gray, gabled parapets reminiscent of a traditional barn but covered in concrete. Breaking up the concrete facade is the large, charred timber entryway topped with a polycarbonate screen.
The minimalism continues throughout the interior, where an extremely neutral color palette was used to enhance the soft, natural light that illuminates the rooms. According to the architects, the interior design was meant to be “raw, but not without warmth, texture and flourish.”
The firm further explained, “We made a conscious decision to choose materials that would age well, were simple to understand and construct and didn’t require cladding or extra finishes. We used limepaint, soap finish and linseed oil, because the interior materials were the largely the ‘finish’ themselves. The concrete will never need painting, [it] will only get better as it ages. At dusk, the concrete panels absorb the evening colors and the light and the house almost disappears into the sky, and there’s something really nice about that.”
To maximize the compact floor plan, the interior rooms flow seamlessly from one space to another. The main living area is open and airy, with a built-in sofa and white-tiled bench. From this room, large doors slide open to an outdoor courtyard with plenty of space for dining, entertaining and relaxing. A wooden staircase leads up to the second floor, which houses the bedroom and en suite bathroom, the only room in the home with a door.
Photography by Ben Hosking via Whispering Smith