Nuanced Adaptive Reuse – King by David Barr Architects
Perth, WA, Australia

Photography Dion Robson
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Within an ageing brick building, King sees a luxurious three-bedroom apartment insertion bring with it a sense of considered refinement. Utilising a restrained palette, David Barr Architects accentuates nuance.

Located in inner-city Perth, King is an exercise in the repurposing of an existing aged structure. David Barr Architects has established new nuanced spaces within the existing shell of a gutted two-storey penthouse. Almost in contrast to its past, the new works bring together a rich sense of luxury and refinement through materiality, detail and execution. Built by NKH Constructions and styled by Jo Carmichael, King is a dwelling that speaks to restraint and creates the backdrop for a collection of objects and furniture.

Navigated around a central gallery, the apartment has an open centre within which a steel and timber staircase connects each of the levels vertically.

Navigated around a central gallery, the apartment has an open centre within which a steel and timber staircase connects each of the levels vertically, becoming the central means of movement. The upper levels see the more passive sleeping areas grouped and the lower levels allow for more collective gathering to occur. Amongst the bedrooms is the hero master suite that is entered by means of transitioning across a dramatic threshold, opening to an eleven-metre-wide bedroom (spanning the length of the apartment), where a separate bathroom, dressing room and lounge accompany the sleeping area.

The upper levels see the more passive sleeping areas grouped, and the lower levels allow for more collective gathering to occur.

The spaces come together under a large brass-lined skylight sitting on its black ceiling, where daylight enters the space and is immediately illuminated, bouncing off the reflective surfaces. Internally, the walls and floors are lined in spotted gum timber, where the warmth and natural texture offsets the more refined elements and further contrasts the original exposed concrete beams overhead. Dotted throughout are stone tiled walls and flooring, where the continued contrast between the natural versus the purposely ornate can be seen. Exposed track lighting allows for directional display and highlight of elements within the spaces, creating internal hierarchies.

Internally, the walls and floors are lined in spotted gum timber, where the warmth and natural texture offsets the more refined elements and further again contrasts the original exposed concrete beams overhead.

One could assume King was named affectionately in reference to a monarch for whom it is fit. The level of intrinsic detail and integrated thought and consideration found throughout indicates a level of craft in its nuances. David Barr Architects has created a home within the constraints of a questionable previous shell and transformed its previous identity into one of future-focused prosperity. King is a study in working respectfully within an existing structure and providing a series of solutions that allow for a new life to be given to tired and abandoned architectural typologies.

King is an exercise in the repurposing of an existing aged structure.

Published 30 January, 2020
Photography  Dion Robson
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