Leafy Gem Image Credit: Identity
Leafy Gem Image Credit: Identity

Leafy Gem

Identity speaks to Neil Cownie about the award-winning Roscommon House, a family home that’s in dynamic and meaningful conversation with its unique location.

Jennifer Copley

I strive to achieve built form that reflects its location, so that the building and its interior feel like they ‘belong’,” explains award-winning Australian architect Neil Cownie. Nestled in Perth’s leafy garden suburb of Floreat is Roscommon House, a mid-century-modern-inspired gem that epitomizes Cownie’s objective. In the architect’s words, “Holistic design through architecture, interior design, product design, and landscaping has been equally applied at all levels.” Indeed, the history and heritage of the surrounding area infuse every element of the project’s design; from the smallest interior details to the aesthetics and functionality of the building as a whole.

Floreat, meaning ‘flourish’ in Latin, has a fascinating architectural legacy: “The suburb itself was designed with the ‘garden suburb’ ethos, where natural bush and public open spaces were integrated within the suburban streets,” explains Cownie. When Perth hosted the Empire Games in 1962, Floreat housed a new sports stadium as well as 150 homes built for athletes. These modernist residences inspired the construction of further buildings designed along with mid-century modern principles. Later, in the 1970s, the shoreline of City Beach and Floreat saw the creation of brutalist concrete ‘kiosk’ structures built among the sand dunes. Cownie estimates that there are over 70 modernist and brutalist building

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