Modern interpretation of whitewashed Italian homes on the cliffs above the Mediterranean

Ultra-modern white house on steep site in Perth features overlapping roof elements, composition of horizontal and vertical planes

Large ultra modern house on steep site is architecture, building, commercial building, elevation, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, siding, gray, white, blue
Large ultra modern house on steep site is designed for entgertaining and indoor outdoor living

It's easy to conjure up a picture of the Mediterranean islands off the coast of Italy and Greece, where sun-kissed white-washed buildings are contrasted by a deep blue sea and a vivid sky.

The character and sense of escape that define such islands has influenced the design of this new house overlooking the Swan River in Perth.

Architect Anthony Rechichi says he has known the owners for many years, and designed their former home.

"The family is originally from Sicily and has a very proud Italian heritage that I wanted to reference in the design. There are similarities between the Mediterranean islands and this site, which is perched up high, with sweeping 180° views across the deep blue river to the city beyond.

"There was a clear opportunity to provide a Modernist interpretation of the archetypal Mediterranean architecture. It seemed an appropriate design response to the site."

On both the exterior and interior, the house appears as a layered composition of horizontal and vertical planes.

"The design also contrasts solid forms with voids and transparency, establishing a dialogue between open and closed elements," says Rechichi. "And there is a sense of attachment and detachment. Some forms appear to float, while others are anchored, and punctuations in the facade are contrasted by extrusions."

The mid-level of this three-storey house features a apartment, architecture, ceiling, condominium, daylighting, house, interior design, living room, loft, penthouse apartment, real estate, window, gray
The mid-level of this three-storey house features a large indoor-outdoor entertaining area with a swimming pool and sun deck. The seating area is sheltered by a high louvred roof. The design is by architect Anthony Rechichi.

At street level these opposing elements include the layering of different roof types.

"There is the solid cantilevered roof, which is topped by a high, louvred roof that is semi transparent. This in turn is overlapped by a dark charcoal steel framework that offers just a hint or suggestion of a roof."

Rechichi says the architecture also references the work of American architect Richard Meier, who is renowned for his bold, geometric designs that frequently feature the colour white.

"For this project, white elements are layered on both the exterior and interior. In some areas there is a very pure white, while in other places it deepens to a grey."

Surfaces on the interior are mainly polished plaster or Turkish limestone, which clads a double-height void that connects the two main living areas.

"The main entry to the three-storey house is at mid level, which we call the ground floor because it is accessed from street level," says Rechichi. "This is where we positioned the main outdoor living area, pool, sun terrace and outdoor kitchen, along with two bedrooms and a guest suite."

With expansive glazing across the entire end of the void and on the upper level, the lines between inside and out are blurred. A high louvred roof above the outdoor living area heightens this connection. The louvres close automatically when it rains.

This kitchen, designed by Leon House, reinforces the ceiling, countertop, house, interior design, kitchen, living room, lobby, real estate, gray
This kitchen, designed by Leon House, reinforces the layered composition of the architecture. There are views through to a second prep area. The island features marble with a timber bar top.

A lowered timber slat ceiling provides a more intimate space for the outdoor kitchen-bar area. The timber slats are laid both flat and on edge, in an alternating pattern that introduces a subtle texture for added visual interest.

Two sets of stairs lead up to the main living area on the upper floor.

"A terrace on this level wraps around and embraces the double-height void it is almost like a bridge," says Rechichi. "It provides a strong visual connection between the two floors that enhances the sense of openness."

This floor accommodates the main indoor living and dining areas, a second terrace with outdoor seating and a dining area, the kitchen, master suite and an additional bedroom. Ample natural light floods the interior through a ribbon of clerestory windows.

Both the indoor and outdoor kitchens were designed by Leon House. The galley-style indoor kitchen teams white lacquered cabinets with a marble island, timber bar top and timber veneer doors that conceal a drinks cabinet.

The semi-freestanding cooking centre also resembles an island, providing views through to a second prep area behind, and continuing the sense of layering that is evident throughout the house.

The outdoor kitchen features a large island with a teppanyaki bar that is perfect for relaxed entertaining.

Credit list

Anthony Rechichi, Anthony Rechichi Architect (Perth)
Imperial Homes
Window and door joinery
Ultriva Citi Matt from Avanti Glass & Aluminium; custom jarrah frames and doors on interior
Trimdek White from Colorbond
Ice White polished plaster
Indoor and outdoor furniture
Merlino Furniture
Control systems and audiovisual equipment
Bernini Stone in Show White
Oven, cooktop and microwave oven
Refrigerator and dishwasher
Kitchen designer
Leon House, Leon House Studio
Kitchen manufacturer
Fremantle Furniture Factory
Alucobond Sparkling White by Vision Clad
Floor tiles
Ankara limestone
Alti Lighting
Kitchen cabinets
Bernini Stone in Carrara
Gessi Oxygene mixer by Abey
Waste unit
Häfele pullout bin

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

Photography by: Jamie Cobel

23 Apr, 2015

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