YOU’D be right in thinking this trio of townhouses looks far from the typical multi-unit developments across Perth.
Everything from their planning to aesthetics was inspired by Japanese design and values, with the tri-level Melville residences showcasing an impressive level of design consistency and authenticity.
The 3×3 House project’s architect and builder Gerry Kho said his client had personal ties to the land of the rising sun and wanted to adopt contemporary Japanese spatial characters to create a new wave of cosy homes that felt big despite each only offering a mere 150sqm of floor space on a small lot.
Camera IconSmall spaces are designed to feel big at the 3×3 House project in Melville. Credit: Supplied
They also had to cater for a growing audience wanting healthier, energy-efficient, adaptive and passive-solar pads.
“Japanese architectural principles are based on a restrained, considered and meaningful approach to design and construction,” he said.
“More importantly, their contemporary architecture, although modern and crammed with technology, still manages to maintain traditional rituals, ideals and essences.
“These principles enabled us to achieve carefully sculpted delightful spaces that make a modest floor area feel like a palace.
“Elements like natural light, good airflow, spatial connections, smart storages, low-maintenance, multi-functional spaces and privacy were also crucial to the outcome.”
Camera IconArchitect Gerry Kho designed the homes to feel cosy at night. Credit: Supplied
Nominated in the 2021 WA Architecture Awards’ residential architecture – multiple housing category, the development’s clever design cocoons it from the noise of the busy Stock Road-Marmion Street intersection and nearby commercial precinct.
Externally, each home features glass blocks that appear as a shoji screen and serve to filter daylight inside as well as illuminate the surrounds, just like a lantern, at night.
Camera IconThe glass blocks that filter light inside each home. Credit: Supplied
The front door opens to reveal a traditional Japanese entry area, the genkan, which is an important respectful gesture — especially to visitors — that they’ve arrived at a sacred space and allows rituals such as the removal of shoes to be performed.
At the heart of the layout, a light well both channels natural light and ventilates the areas on all levels.
Camera IconA light well both channels natural light and ventilates the areas on all levels of the residences. Credit: Supplied
“Internally, we’ve created a distinctively different ambience at night and day through strategic lighting — subdued, romance and cosiness in the evening in contrast to the zest, freshness and crispness of natural light during the day, like eating a hug full of comforting buta kakuni (braised pork belly) compared to the refreshing rawness of sashimi,” Mr Kho said.
There is also a tsuboniwa, or small garden, that introduces nature into the home.
Camera IconEach residence has a tsuboniwa, or small garden. Credit: Supplied
The 3×3 House project achieves an eight-star NatHERS rating.
“This development offers a sustainable, convenient and efficient way of living,” Mr Kho said.
“We’ve had members of the Japanese community as well as those who have lived in Japan comment that they are impressed and happy with how everything felt like home.
“Receiving responses like this is our biggest reward.”
The WA Architecture Awards winners will be announced during a presentation evening streamed live on June 11 and will progress to the 2021 National Architecture Awards.