Another special thing about the houses, to me – and one of the things that really differentiates their residences to ours - is that so many are multi-dwelling residences. I don’t mean big apartment complexes, but houses. My uncle’s old farmhouse has been divided into two homes, one family upstairs and one downstairs. Another uncle, aunt and cousin of mine live in the upper floor of this lovely freestanding building in a little forest. There are three families living in this one building. And in the city, there are more and more of these free-standing multi-dwelling buildings, closer together and with smaller gardens than their country counterparts, but still with the same concept: more home, more families, on a smaller footprint.
Although we obviously have large apartment buildings here in Perth, it’s less common to find small multi-dwelling residences. It’s like almost everyone wants a house-house, with no neighbours directly above or directly on the other side of a wall. While I most certainly understand the allure of a whole building just for oneself, urban planners seem to be in agreement that we can’t keep building houses the way we did in the 1950s.
Directions 2031 is a Metropolitan Strategic Plan for Perth that sets up the planning framework to accommodate our city’s growing population. Its researchers have forecasted that Perth’s population will increase by more than half a million people (to 2.2 million) by 2031. To put that into perspective, in 2014 Perth had 2.02 million people. So that’s half a million more in the space of just 15 years!) The researchers say we need to plan for urban consolidation. “Directions 2031 seeks a 50 per cent improvement on current infill residential development trends of 30 and 35 per cent; and have set a target of 47 per cent or 154,000 of the required 328,000 dwellings as infill development.”
Which is partly why I find the house I’m sharing with you today so cool – and ahead of the Perth curve! Built on a tiny inner-city infill block just 200sqm in size, it’s a house that has been designed to comfortably accommodate two sets of occupants.
It’s called Two Apartment House, and it is the new home of Etica Studio building designer Carla Karsakis and her husband Ben, an urban designer at Creative Planning and Design. And it is freaking awesome!