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Cast Studio. Perth Western Australia.

David Barr is an award-winning Perth architect whose innovative practice covers a broad range of work from new homes and alterations and additions through to policy writing and master planning. Formerly called David Bar Architects, his practice is now known as Cast Studio.

One of David’s most well-known projects is the Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project in White Gum Valley. Intended to appeal to Gen Y, it is comprised of three apartments that look like a single house, all accommodated on a small 250sqm site.

Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project by David Barr. Photo by Robert Frith.

The Gen Y project is an example of the movement towards urban density and smaller homes and David considers this a “trajectory” rather than a “trend”. “While trends may come and go, a trajectory follows a path,” he says. “We are learning and moving forward, and homes are evolving due to factors of cost and sustainability. Smaller homes are sustainable because you are building with less. But to be functional and liveable, clever planning and intelligent thinking are critical. The aim in the design of smaller homes is to achieve high quality with multi-purpose spaces.”

Technology is one factor enabling smaller homes by eliminating our need for excess rooms. “Mobile devices mean people no longer need a theatre room or a study,” David says. “It also means there is no need for the TV to be the focal point of a room. If it is there, I conceal it with cabinetwork.”

Clever planning is also required to accommodate growing and contracting families. David says his clients are increasingly asking for a “forever home” rather than a home for resale. “I enjoy working on this type of project,” he says. “Working collaboratively with the client to look at their changing needs as their children grow up and one day leave home.”

One thing David would like to see more of in home design was consideration of our ageing population. He notes that this could be done with simple changes; for example, homes with wider halls and wider doors for universal access, meeting the liveable homes essential standards.

In terms of advice for people thinking about building a new home, David encourages people to first work out their brief and budget, and then to start looking for architects and builders who resonate with this.

Marine Residential Design by David Barr. Photo by Jack Lovel
Claremont Residential Design by David Barr. Photo by Jack Lovel