By Stephanie Russo
An experimental housing project in White Gum Valley may bring the dream of home ownership back into reach for younger Western Australians.
The Gen Y Step House is one part of the WVG sustainable building project initiated by LandCorp.
Its nine months of construction will end in just seven days, on November 2.
The architect, Fremantle native David Barr, says he decided to take a stealth approach to medium-density housing.
“The house is an envelope. The everyday person looking at it from the street is going to see what is fairly typical in the area for what is a residential home,” he said.
“But the cloak is concealing possibly up to six people…within these three dwellings.”
Legally, the occupants will have the same rights and ownership prospects as apartment owners. The building is covered by the apartment codes, but built on a much smaller scale, at 50 square metres per dwelling and with an emphasis on community living.
But size might just be the key to an affordable home in a good location for one- or two-person households.
“For us the importance of ownership was paramount in the project,” said Mr Barr.
“Each of the occupants would have… a title associated with their lot, and therefore they would have projected equity in the future.”
Professor Peter Newman of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute said that the close-quarters, communal nature of the project was extremely vital to a growing city.
“It means that medium-density development gets a whole new makeover,” he said.
“It’s much more acceptable to a generation of people looking for a sharing experience rather than disappearing into a house in the suburbs, into your own private little life. That’s almost dying as a way of life; people are seeking some sort of community. It’s a very important experiment.”
Watch the video below for more on the ideas behind communal living in the Step House.