Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

MORQ Architecture have completed the Cloister House (Enclosed House I) in Perth, Western Australia for a couple in search of a house that provided them with a sense of refuge. “Somewhere to peacefully dwell for the coming chapters of their life,” explain MORQ. “Softly lit, relaxing, with a distinct presence.”

The typical suburban quarter-acre block presented some less-than-ideal features to be reconciled. The lot was subdivided with frontage onto a busy road, with zero vegetation or privacy from the neighbouring homes – not exactly a scene for a typical sanctuary. In order to reclaim a sense of respite from the surrounding suburbia, the architects pushed the house toward the edges of the site, creating an enclosed, inward-looking structure. The occupants are shielded from the noisy street within their inner sanctuary.

“The name, Cloister House, is not so much a typological reference to the cloister but instead a reference to the idea of an enclosure and the creation of an inward and protected world,” said MORQ.

 

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

Cloister House in Perth, Australia by MORQ Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

The courtyard is the heart of the home in a functional, aesthetic, and metaphorical sense. Full and half-height windows across each bordering façade distribute light and facilitate ventilation. The clients have two sons who often visit for days at a time, so the architects distributed the home into two distinct areas. The client’s living spaces are organized around the central courtyard, while the rear of the house comprises rooms for visiting family or guests.

According to MORQ, the central void continuously frames the everyday rituals of the inhabitants, “all the while denying any reminder of the suburban context beyond its massive walls.” Abundant, tropical vegetation gives the delusive sense of being elsewhere, like Bali or India.

The monolithic recycled concrete walls add to the sense of repose at Cloister House, constructed using an ancient ramming technique called pisé and comprising the entire vertical structure. Oiled, rough sawn red hardwood is used for the ceilings and joinery, while concrete pavers create a uniform floor. Each material subtly reflects the light filtered in from the courtyard.

The enclosed design protects the courtyard from the strong winds and harsh sun Perth is prone to, while the thermal inertia of the rammed concrete walls and use of hydronic floors adds further comfort. The select use of only a few raw materials creates a calming, harmonized background that directs emphasis on the lives of the inhabitants within.

 

 


[Images courtesy of MORQ Architecture. Photography © Givlio Aristide.]

 

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