South Terrace Mezzanine House

Philip Stejskal Architecture

The owners of this house in Fremantle, Western Australia, required a remedy for a situation where an existing double-storey extension at the rear of the property failed to take advantage of views toward the ocean, and nor did it harness prevailing breezes or north light. Their desire was to push west within the existing roof space, to culminate in a roof terrace behind the existing shopfront parapet. The result is a ‘floating’ mezzanine home-office space, pulled back from the edges of the building to funnel daylight to the ground floor and create spatial connection between the levels.

The existing roof was ‘raised’ to accommodate the new program and re-clad in a contemporary material to signal the intervention. External louvre sunshades allow controlled solar ingress through operable glazed roof sections, which also augment cross ventilation. The existing second storey at the rear of the site was wrapped in a new cloak and given a privacy screen to manage overlooking to the eastern neighbour. Internally, white predominates to provide a neutral backdrop to the client’s collection of colourful objects and art.

Thresholds between old and new are, by contrast, dark and moody. This project represents merely the present moment in the life of a structure that has been operating for more than 100 years – originally as a shop, then as a home, now re-modelled as a series of flexible spaces to serve as a temporary residence for our clients, with the ability to switch to an office without modifications in a few years.

It is a manifestation, an expression of a new type of workplace – a thoroughly modern workspace in the sense of blurring boundaries between living and working. It is not merely a shop-house, but an environment that can be a light-filled home one day and a flexible office for 15 people the next. The constant is the new mezzanine, which provides the owners with a space that is both connected and private.

Lighting: UNIOS (HS Reflections). Finishes: Porters Paints, INEX, Webforge, Knauf, Lexan, Revolution Roofing, Bluescope, Equitone. Fittings & Fixtures: Reece, Smeg.

Photography: Dion Robeson