The Journey Home - Blinco Street House by Philip Stejskal Architecture
Freemantle, WA, Australia
The idea of ‘home’ represents feelings of comfort and security; it is our sanctuary of rest, relaxation and reflection. For the client of Philip Stejskal Architecture, an ex-carpenter and current FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) worker, the significance of ‘home’ resonates in a very meaningful way. Spending great lengths of time working off-shore means the moments at home are sacred, and there is an adjustment period that needs to be nurtured when settling back into the daily norms of city-life.
With a clear identity of home, Blinco Street House is crafted in a way that facilitates this unique process through the layering of private to social zones leading the journey from solitude to the friendly reacquaintance with a larger community. The result showcases the immediately recognisable power of architecture to offer a much deeper emotional response than simply the shelter it provides.
The materiality of Blinco Street House is not revolutionary in itself, but it is the application of materials that makes the project so memorable by displaying a lateral approach to rudimentary products. Director Phillip describes how “the client wanted to kick off his shoes, walk in off the beach, and have his friends over without worrying too much. The surfaces have been designed with this in mind, as robust and hardy finishes.”
The definition of each space is informed by the stages of re-orientation from work, to restful, and eventually more social modes, beginning with the entry from the back of the block into a lush, protected garden to the front door. “Together with the client we devised an entrance sequence to perform the initial reset,” Phillip says.
The lower level is a moody combination of dark-stained timbers and textured brick. Nooks of solitude are neatly tucked into the embrace of the home’s sturdy foundation. Compact and dimly-lit spaces in the kitchen, dining and library indicate room for one to privately contemplate in peaceful reflection. A central pond is visible through frameless glass windows and is filled by the nearly located shower. This ‘barefoot space’ has a raw casualness that suggests the dweller’s relaxed temperament.
The double-height living area on the lower floor hints a glimpse of the crisp light palette to be awaited on the level above. A central spiral stair coils upward from the library that clearly creates a grounding of both person and place, displaying a collection of ornaments and books as a sentimental reminder in the heart of the home.
As the stairs rise towards the first level, the tread changes from black to white, in sync with the lightening of materials that represents this transition of phases. Crisp, clean lines and lime-washed timbers define the first-floor which comprises of three bedrooms and a bathroom. For shading and privacy, operable shutters of Hardie Lattice are applied over the windows.
Light dapples through sculptural perforations and screens throughout the entire project ,allowing visual connection between spaces and the gentleness of indirect light. Visually delighting play between light and shadow draw geometric shapes and textures that layer the space as they move with the day. Refreshing air flows with ease through the property thanks to the ventilation that is allowed by this approach of spatial division.
The rooftop level is an expression of openness where connection to the outside world is established with expansive views. A place where once the union has been established with self and place, can invite a larger community to socialise and unwind.