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Casa Mia, Australia

By George Spreckley
3 Gali Lane 20220304 6685

Casa Mia explores spatial experiences created and controlled through brickwork manipulation. A dual coloured perimeter mask of bricks hugs site boundaries, this is perforated, sliced, corbelled, thickened, punctured and eroded to reveal moments of the interior living.

The mask allows us to live with privacy while inhabiting the public realm, resulting in charged spaces where muffled voices may be heard and only distorted signs of inhabitation revealed. This privileges the occupant providing a level of control over their relationship to a higher density form of living.

The wall creates a contextual connection to the beige surrounding houses, this is juxtaposed with the texture of Austral Indulgence Salted Praline. The interior brick wall contrasts with the light exterior, Austral Metallix Carbide creates a carefully controlled sequence of atmospheric qualities. The semi glazed brick is both reflective and at times deeply atmospheric.

A moment of slippage occurs on the street boundary wall revealing the interior skin, this occurs at a point where the Salted Praline brick thickens to create a courtyard seat and fireplace that engages with the street. A sense of density is revealed and an opportunity to inhabit the perimeter wall.

A moment of wonder accompanies this experience, the Amber coloured Austral Venetian Glass Bricks create theatre of mass verses fragility. The glass brick glows, casting an abstracted line of amber into the courtyard.

Austral Burlesque Glazed bricks reflect light and image at strategic window locations and amber light in the stairwell from Nonna’s hovering 1950’s patterned glass door.

The contractor applied a rule of limiting waste, minimising cut bricks became an obsession. All brick elevations were drawn at 1:20 scale, on site opportunities and manipulation enthusiastically embraced.

Light coloured bricks were utilised externally and darker bricks with glazing internally. This reduces heat gain while allowing light to be reflected internally. Dark brick courtyards assist to mediate the intense Perth light levels.

Mortar perpends are purposely removed in specific locations allowing increased air movement and absorption of sound by cavity wall insulation.

The home includes a sequence of courtyard and terrace spaces insulated with cavity construction brickwork and breezeway walls. These spaces moderate outside temperature in summer and winter, protecting interior spaces.

A solar powered low velocity extract fan located at the top of the stair increases stack effect. Low level outside air is cooled while being drawn across the swimming pool (cooling pond) and through external courtyards.

Contrasting dark tiles map winter sun providing additional heat gain opportunities with an integrated education and artistic approach (this allows us to discuss the movement and seasonal variation of the sun to our children and guests).

Bricks form shelves over windows and stair treads become portals and shelves. Plants hover in space, family photos float above, books create a sense of dense space, prized objects and collections are shared with guests.

Laser etched brick patterns specially designed by artist Caroline Di Costa animate children’s bedroom walls. We explored the scale of brick oscillating between the personal and the community.

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