Nathan Steele and Bindi House collaborated their architecture and landscape studios in 2010 to form ‘steelehouse’ architecture. It is a small design-focused architectural practice based in Fremantle, Australia, majorly experienced in additions, alterations and single residential design projects in Fremantle, Perth and Western Australia. Nathan is an engaging architect who values clients’ opinions as well as the quality of construction with more than twenty years of experience in the practical field as an architectural assistant, an architect and a studio coordinator at the University of Western Australia. Bindi works on applied design focused on livability principles to create beautiful gardens on the underlying principles of urban greening and sustainability.
steelehouse architecture is a practice which is concerned with economically sound and environmentally sensitive design strategies in a fascinating harmony with the form. They thrive to offer unique solutions particular to the needs and requirements of the client. They believe in having long-term relations with their clients by engaging them in a personal, intricately crafted journey of the project from the stage of design conception until the construction of the project.
The following are 12 projects by steelehouse architecture, most of which are additions or alterations to pre-existing residential projects in various parts of western and central Australia. Their projects can be characterised by (but not confined within) folded planes with exterior metal cladding over forms narrating contemporary adaptations of design elements and features belonging to tradition and heritage.
1. Pericles House
An extension to an already existing traditional Californian bungalow on Dudein St at Mt. Hawthorn, Australia, the Pericles House project comprises a guest cottage and an open living area overlooking the north yard and the street. The spacious new extension stands as a contrast to the modest rooms of the existing structure. The various functions are distinguished by partially formed walls made of recycled bricks, a material which resonates with the history of the structure. A glazed wall topped by a deco-inspired truss visually connects the interior to the outdoor living. Completed in 2019, the Pericles House combines the elements of form, materiality and detail into an inspirational framework to the lives of an adventurous young family.
2. Hawkstone St.
The client asked for a series of spaces which connects the interior with the exterior and promotes an outdoor lifestyle. Located at Hawkstone Street in Cottesloe, Australia, the design alteration introduced a set of planes folding over the existing structure to form a second floor comprising the kids’ room. The orientation of the upper block shades the front deck from the harsh summer sun and manages to reduce its impact on the perceptible size of the yard. The protrusion of extension is articulated by a circular window which is inspired by a giant porthole, representing the residents’ love for all nautical things. The addition is connected to the persisting spaces by an integrated, perforated plywood staircase. The added volumes and cladding describe a discrete form which not only forms a respectful relationship with the existing structure but also personifies the nature and lifestyle of its residents.
3. Matlock St.
The trapezoidal extension stands as a contemporary adaptation, in both form and materiality, of the pre-existing 1930s house at Matlock Street in Mt. Hawthorn, Australia. The ‘elegant shed’, a wedged roof with Trimdeck Zincalume cladding, effectively protects the interior from the summer sun. The added volume looks through a glazed facade at the outdoor living space. Completed in February 2020, the straight lines and ‘sharp’ features of the design, while opposing the essence of the existing structure, resonate with the personality of the client family.
4. Jimbell St.
The ongoing additions project at Jimbell street in Mosman Park, Australia features The addition continues the typical characteristic of sharp contrast with the existing structure by flaunting adaptive and contemporary elements to the spaces. The distinct forms of the design are accentuated by the use of horizontal and vertical Monument Matt Nailstrip cladding on the wall and roof, supplemented by a Maxline 340 cladding at the lower floor.
5. Rule St.
The refurbishment project of a small bathroom and wardrobe of a pre-existing residence at Rule Street, North Fremantle, Australia, was completed in 2017. An illusion of depth has been created by an ingenious use of mirrors at the entrance ‘portal’ to the bathroom to exaggerate the space available. A completely modern addition to the Rule Street residence with simple and smooth interior elements and fixtures. The colour palette is subtle and simple with whites, timber and dark greys which successfully describe the different functions offered by the space.
6. Harvest Heights Laundry
The Harvest Heights in Perth city of Australia is an apartment complex designed by the architects Krantz and Sheldon. As a part of an ongoing project, the refurbishment of the laundry at the apartment block at Harvest Heights was undertaken by steelehouse architecture. The project manages to execute a simple yet modern look while staying within the budget constraints. The subtle white and grey shades of the space are complemented by the maroon textures on the walls. The design features provide the space with a linear aspect except for the roof which curves down into the wall.
7. Jarrad St.
At Jarrad Street in Cottesloe, Australia, a box covered in zinc cladding dropped on a pre-existing historic federation house stands as a contrast depicting the difference in interests of the two generations that dwell within it. The prefabricated addition features a suite of rooms meant for three boys and a large play area. The decision of pre-fabricating the addition considerably reduced the amount of time the client had to stay away from his house. The new and the existing are connected by an elegant perforated metal stair which adds to the drama of the space. The stairwell and hall offer an escape from the canyon-like hall. The facade flaunts an interesting pattern of horizontal and vertical lines neatly intervened by fenestrations of varied sizes.
The alterations and additions proposal to an already existing bungalow in Coolgardie Street at Subiaco includes a large volume distinguished by a wall of recycled bricks into a spacious living area and a kitchen. The brick wall moves out along the window and runs through the whole exterior of the new addition. The living area is characterised by a circular window while the kitchen is offered a generous view of the front yard through a longitudinal window running from floor to the ceiling. The window offers a view of the outdoor sitting spaces which is designed as a series of planes running along with a lap pool and a sitting area.
9. Pamment St.
An alteration project to an already existing warehouse-turned-home at Pamment Street, North Fremantle Australia, the project introduces a new kitchen overlooking a garden to the north of the house, replacing the pre-existing home office and the garage. The interior of the kitchen features a diverse selection of elements describing the love of the clients for kitsch design elements. The overall exterior look conforms to the industrial characteristics of a warehouse home, while the interior design features reflect the clients’ satisfaction with a life of simplicity and serenity.
This project is a private residence designed for an Anaesthetist at Beach Street in Cottesloe, Australia. The design features folding planes draped over trapezoidal shapes, with a contrast in materiality clearly distinguishing the two. A cantilever projection of an upper story space acts as a shade for the outdoor seating underneath and the backyard. The slanting surface of the roof is divided into strips which rise alternately to account for clerestory.
11. Ellesmere St.
A large ‘spaceship’ comprising an open living space added against the small, dark spaces of a modest brick bungalow from the 1970s at Mt. Hawthorn to transform it into a contemporary family home. The design takes advantage of the northern aspect of the site and includes a raise in the roof beyond the pre-existing tiling to welcome the winter sun while providing shade in summers. The fresh interiors look out on a timber-clad alfresco draped in what seems like a folded sheet of corrugated iron. The colours are simple and subtle: white, timber and intense greys at benchtops to provide a distinct character to the kitchen forms. A minimal shift in the ceiling height describes the room definition without causing any hindrance in the space.
12. Harvest Heights
Harvest Heights is a residential apartment complex located at Perth, Australia. It was designed by the architectural duo of Krantz and Sheldon, credited with the construction of almost 90 per cent of all residential projects during the 1930-60s. The additions and alterations project to this complex features contemporary materials and design elements in warm and dark shades. The bathroom refurbishment has managed to achieve an exquisite standard with minimal alterations.