In the Perth suburb of Mt Lawley, a sculptural form pops out above the houses, an irregular tower made of red clay shingles that seems to wrap in on itself in an unusual architectural shape that is also strangely familiar. This is the Camino House, a Perth house extension designed by Bosske and inspired by the shape of a kiln or oast (a traditional building where hops is dried as part of the brewing process).
“We initially envisaged the extension as a distinct object, as different to the existing house,” explains Caroline Hickey of Bosske. “It could be something which might ‘sit’ behind it, lean against it, looming above it from the street view, creating a casual relationship between these two elements.”
As a result, the form had to be made of a single element to create a unified aesthetic – and that element is clay shingles. “To express it as a singular thing, we looked at materials that could wrap around everything – the walls, the roof, corners, and incorporate gutters,” explains Caroline. Clay shingles proved to be highly versatile and, due to their natural colour, add a subtle variation to the building’s appearance which is very human. “They have a natural ‘loose-ness’ or ‘softness’ in the way they tile over framework, so they don’t look too precise or precious, which we like.”
Caroline and the team spent a long time 3D modelling the form, also consulting with the builder and roofing contractor to create a continuous surface using a range of different tile joins. The result is a lopsided square shape that is a direct reference to the traditional square oast or kiln, with an additional fold here and there. The design also relates to the smattering of industrial elements that exist in this residential suburb, where Italian migrants built vegetable gardens, lean-tos, drying sheds, incinerators and pizza ovens as additions to the residential buildings.
“There are a few of these types of buildings in the neighborhood,” says Caroline. “The Lincoln Street incinerator is a good example. These buildings take on a relic or ‘ruin’ type role in their suburban setting. The clay tiles are often used for these architectural forms – brick kilns, oasts etc, so we thought that the material was important to carry the idea.”
The extension, which is quite small at 80sqm over 2 levels and balances with the 70sqm original house, was built as a separate building, allowing more freedom in the construction process than an integrated build, while the small footprint offers more outdoor space, unusual for a Perth house. Meanwhile the size and shape of the form also creates a thermal chimney, encouraging air circulation and releasing excess heat through the skylight at the top.
Camino House won the Think Brick Roof Tile Excellence Award 2015