Little River Residence
Photography: Bo Wong
Amidst the wild landscapes of Western Australia’s southern coast, PTX Architects have revived a Denmark cottage steeped in history.
For more than a hundred years ‘Bonnie View’ has overlooked the verdant bush, rolling pastures and placid waters of Denmark’s Wilson Inlet. Once a beloved holiday home for the pioneering Durack family, the weatherboard-clad farm cottage fell into disrepair around the turn of the century. But new owners called on local area specialists PTX Architects to bring this slice of Western Australian history into the modern age.
The brief was simple: to seamlessly integrate the old and the new. The once-derelict cottage has been lovingly restored and linked together with a new charred timber and glass residence, each element reflecting and enhancing not only each other but also the surrounding landscape.
The new residence deploys high-performance pfosten und riegel (post and beam) glazing to capture extensive views of the surrounding paddocks and Wilson Inlet itself. The structural system has been designed with great care to limit bracing elements in the vertical plane, creating an almost uninterrupted panorama of the local landscape. A cantilevered concrete floor slab, built to float effortlessly above the grassed paddocks below, further deepens the connection to the surrounds.
The slender form of the new residence has been specifically designed to offset rather than overpower the original cottage. The building’s charred timber and metal cladding provide striking juxtapositions to its companion’s white weatherboard frame, while the perforated screens over the entry skylight naturally map the passage of time and the changing of the seasons. The two buildings have been joined through a retained walkway, timber decking and native planting, offering a gentle transition from past to present.
PTX Architects’ studio neighbours the Little River Residence, so they’ve been intimately involved in the project from beginning to end. The product of endless conversations and a strong, shared vision, the Thornton Residence is testament to the power of collaboration between client and architect.