The Backhouse

The Backhouse is a family home for five that looks for opportunities to colonise spaces through layering and stacking in plan and section. Figuratively, it takes on the form of a barn, responding to Fremantle’s harsh coastal conditions and recording the passage of time. The Backhouse feels authentic and lived in. Both internally and externally, materials have been selected for their sustainability, warmth and lack of preciousness.

Foremost, the house addresses the family’s need for both privacy and connection. It privileges each space and considers their relationship to the site and neighbourhood. In doing this, the family actively engages with each other through the overlapping of spaces.

The house is opportunistic in finding space for solitude by thickening the plan in places. Bookshelves and a bench seat line the stairwell landing and a desk stretches along the landing on the first floor.  The west-facing sunken lounge opens directly onto the landscape and embraces Perth’s relatively temperate climate extending the recycled floor outside.

A cubby for modern living!

Boonooloo Road Grouped Housing Project

CODA Studio was commissioned by a client with extensive building and commercial construction knowledge to undertake a grouped housing project at Boonooloo Road in Kalamunda. The project involved the construction of 4 grouped infill dwellings on a 4,000sqm lot that had previously held two standard dwellings. The project seeks to reinvent the common approach to infill development currently prevalent across Perth.

Whilst all four dwellings are independent of one another (semi-detached), the design language is common across the development. Economical building systems and finishes are brought to life with careful consideration to spatial planning and the articulation of threshold moments. This design tests both new plan typologies and prefabricated Structurally Insulated Wall Panels (SIP) and responds to the limitations of SIP systems, particularly ground slab junctions. Opportunities for ancillary dwellings are also tested, with the 4th bedroom fitted with capped services for retrofit; the villa becomes a 3 bedroom home with separate accommodation (bedsit or granny flat) or home office in the future. 

Joyful insertions of colour and a restrained palette of sophisticated materials further elevate this project beyond what’s become typical in our suburbs.

Ranford Road Urban Village

CODA’s scheme for the #designperth challenge tests opportunities for a site located on a busy road and addresses the lack of housing diversity within the area.

The broad aspiration for the scheme is to improve economic, social and environmental benefits to this corridor whilst whilst providing an attractive place to live and work, with housing choice, genuine affordability and quality landscape amenity. It seeks to transform the area’s car dominated and severe built and urban form into a vibrant urban village, with improved links to public transport and a shared path network.

CODA used a diverse combination of housing typologies, including maisonettes, adaptable ageing in place units and flexible housing to develop the village. Importantly, none of our proposed residential buildings are over three storeys, with the only three-four storey building being mixed-use and addressing the main road.

More about the scheme and the #designperth initiative can be found here.


WGV Split Level House

There is a growing demand for the design of demographically diverse housing that offers the potential to expand and contract as residents move through the natural phases of life. In terms of urban design solutions to accommodate our growing population, the WGV Split Level House answers these needs by increasing the occupancy potential of an individual dwelling.

This project builds upon CODA’s extensive experience in developing innovative housing typologies and our role as WGV Estate Architect.

At WGV, the split level sites are distinguished by a 3m retaining wall running through the site offset from the precinct’s internal laneway. The design offers multiple configurations, demonstrating that a single home can function in a range of occupancy scenarios. For instance, as a dual key house that can accommodate an ancillary dwelling and work from home options.

Efficient in its use of space, the split level house makes the most of its dual frontage, with both laneway and avenue providing two distinct entry points. The scale and texture of materials respond to the existing neighborhood, anchoring the building within White Gum Valley’s established architectural framework.

Importantly, the design responds to Landcorp’s Climatic Responsive Design Policy with regards to setbacks, natural ventilation and open space.

White Gum Valley Development

In 2012, CODA was engaged by Landcorp to propose a series of innovative housing typologies for the former Kim Beazley School site in White Gum Valley. These typologies proposed a diverse range of housing styles and living options including apartments, maisonettes and single homes, which were appropriate to the site’s proximity to central Fremantle and reflective of the needs of the community. As part  of our role, we also prepared comprehensive Design Guidelines that will inform the buildings to come. We are now acting in our role as Estate Architect for all development proposals across the site and will participate in design reviews for all multiple dwelling sites.

CODA relishes the opportunity to work at the front (and often most challenging) end of housing developments. Through our work in projects such as this, we have the opportunity to broadly influence the way in which homes function and communities evolve.

In 2015, this project was awarded the Planning Minister’s Award at the WA Awards for Planning Excellence; in May 2016 the project received the Award for Excellence, Best Planning Small Project at the national Planning Institute of Australia Awards; and in October 2016, WGV received the prestigious Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts (small scale).

Amana Living

CODA was invited by Amana Living as one of four architectural practices chosen to explore the feasibility and potential for the development of quality accommodation for people aged 55+ on an existing Amana site.

The proposition put forward by our team was expressive of CODA’s determination to produce innovative, sustainable and research-based work. With a strong interest in the future of housing and in particular the necessity for age-appropriate living, this project was a result of a determination to understand what defines successful retirement housing.

The proposal puts forward a total of 105 apartments, 90% of which are anticipated to achieve a Platinum level of Livable Housing Design Guidelines to encourage access to all residents as well as easy adaptation of apartments to the specific needs of residents.

A set of 5 key principles were developed to guide the design process:

Light + Air

Passive solar considerations are ensured in all dwellings as a result of an understanding of both the environmental benefits and in recognising the major life-enhancing health and psychological benefits of good access to sunlight and natural ventilation.

Materials + Sustainability    

We proposed a beautiful selection of materials, both hardwearing and sustainable where possible. ESD considerations were a key component of the design, which encompasses water recycling systems, PVS and solar thermal on the roof.

Privacy + Community  

We believe that when operating effectively retirement living can become the backdrop for a fulfilling communal life whilst allowing privacy and amenity for individual pursuits.

Safety + Security

Part of the research undertaken through the design process involved a series of interviews with those who sit within the demographic most akin to the potential clients of Amana living. These interviews revealed that security was of the most importance to people as they aged.

These are at the heart of any multi-residential design and particularly relevant in the case of 55+ living and its associated services and lifestyle.

Pilbara Housing Prototypes

The Pilbara Housing Prototypes is an additional chapter of the Pilbara Vernacular Handbook, which explores several housing design typologies for building in flood prone areas. It aims to provide a diverse range of house type solutions from single-family dwellings to townhouse and multiple unit housing. Various construction methods have been explored including standard construction methods, modular hybrids, raised stilted homes and steel frame modular construction.

Our designs draw upon the investigation undertaken in the Pilbara Vernacular Handbook and are purely speculative. Further investigation is required with the construction and planning sectors. The designs do however, respond to Landcorp’s Climatic Responsive Design Policy with regards to setbacks, natural ventilation and open space.

Th 3D renders were prepared with the assistance of Last Pixel.


Bennett Street Housing

CODA was one of three practices invited to provide a Concept Design Proposal for Foundation Housing’s new Bennett Street Affordable Housing project. The project will provide hostel and affordable key worker apartment accommodation in the inner east end of the Perth CBD.

Based on our experience in this type of accommodation, our scheme was underpinned by the following four principles: access to daylight, fresh air, robust and sustainable materials and a real sense of community. We believe that these principles should form the heart of any design, but have particular relevance to Foundation Housing, its clients and tenants and the people who work for the organisation delivering its services.

Our scheme proposed a range of activated street front uses such as caretaker offices and interview rooms, and a ‘sunken lounge’ on the upper level that engaged directly with Bennett Street. A combined first floor community area included a Men’s Shed, BBQ areas and a variety of scaled spaces for socialisation. An important link between the laundry spaces, kitchen and cooking education areas was developed, along with the careful provision of stores and separate access points for apartment residents and hostel tenants. A visitation apartment was also proposed to provide a space for tenants to interact with their children in a safe and secure environment.

Looking to minimise site time and to maximise space efficiencies, we proposed a 16-storey apartment tower using the Unitised Building (UB) modular system of construction. This method not only looks great but is cost, resource and time effective. As our imagery demonstrates, the building’s shell was to have been punctuated with an engaging and uplifting palette of coloured, north facing balconies – one for each tenancy.

It was a considered and bold scheme that we believe would have provided a memorable, pragmatic and substantial piece of residential architecture for inner-city Perth.

Wheatstone Residential Housing

The Chevron-operated Wheatstone project, one of Australia’s largest resource projects, is currently under construction on the Pilbara coast.

Located at Ashburton, 12 kilometres west of Onslow, the foundation phase of the project will consist of two liquefied natural gas trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 MTPA and a domestic gas plant.

As part of its commitment to ensuring that a portion of the Wheatstone workforce reside permanently in Onslow, Chevron has engaged CODA to design 50 residential houses on a subdivision to be developed by Landcorp.

Whilst the project is still in its infancy, it is intended that these houses will provide accommodation for families to enable them to be part of the tight-knit community of Onslow. Our familiarity with the Pilbara will be essential to us realising Chevron’s desire for a housing development that is sustainable, climatically responsive and that references Onslow’s established architectural language.

Town of Cambridge Local Housing Strategy

The purpose of this project was to identify housing typologies and planning opportunities for the Town of Cambridge in order to meet the Council’s housing objectives for a target of an additional 3000 homes by 2031, as set out in the draft Central Metropolitan Perth Sub Regional Strategy. CODA’s responsibility was to deliver a series of housing typologies that demonstrate positive and achievable development opportunities for the Town.

Our preparatory work underpins all our design decisions by building a thorough and astute understanding of place. We have achieved this through research and exploration of the impacts and influences at a statutory level for historic, existing and forecast conditions.

For each of the residential precincts of City Beach, Floreat, Wembley and West Leederville we looked at the opportunities and constraints of the existing housing stock in terms of type, form and character as well as streetscapes and local context. Each of these four precincts has its own distinct character and form and it is these differences that ultimately determined the pervading sense of place for our final typologies.