Twig House is the result of a rich collaboration that included landscape architectural input from the very outset of the project, which is (sadly) very unusual in residential projects.
The clients understood that a close collaboration between architect, landscape architect and themselves was key to producing a seamless and timeless house and garden, as well as a home that meets the needs of the everyday, of grandchildren and inter-generational family gatherings.
The sculptural off-form concrete house designed by Leeton Pointon Architects + Interiors and lush seasonal garden by TCL weave among one another, creating a series of thresholds, courts, terraces, garden glimpses and secluded garden spaces that are revealed as a progression of experiences, all within a relatively tight and sloping site.
Boundaries to neighbours are blurred by vegetation, metal screens and / or concrete walls creating a sense of calm and enclosure, while still allowing expansive views of the city beyond. In the architect Michael Leeton’s words ‘Twig house was conceived as a sculpture – melding architecture, interior and landscape into one’. The house and garden are a play of positive and negative layered spaces that create a tension between the exterior monumentality of the building and strong concrete garden elements and the tranquil seasonal and elegant simplicity of the plantings. Light and shadow are also an essential ingredient of the garden where trellises, trees tall bamboo, screens, water and walls create an ever changing chiaroscuro, sometimes as dramatic voids of light or dark and at other times as softly cast patinas.
TCL was responsible for the design and documentation of all garden elements except the pool, which was designed and documented in collaboration with the architect.
A large underground tank provides the garden’s water requirements while cars are located below ground freeing up more space for the garden.
The front garden is composed of a ground plane of irregular green granite and amorphic forms of Sacred Bamboo and Ginkgo trees which soften the singular curved concrete wall which heralds the house entrance. The sinuous planting forms part to allow for cars and a porte couche and provide a textural layering increasing the sense of space and screening in what is a relatively small space.
Inside the house windows reveal a number of viewing courtyards, each planted with a singular species, and visually connected by a ground plane of stacked grey slate. Views into other garden areas are carefully considered with a large Peppercorn becoming a focal point from the lounge room.
A generous sunny terrace and pool area allows for the demands of a modem family through the seasons. Plantings have been selected to thrive in the varied micro-climates created by the sculptural house. The strong interconnection between building and landscape creates a sense of restraint, calm and timeless elegance.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Architectural team – Leeton Pointon Architects
Civil & Structural Engineering – Clive Steele Partners
Hydraulic Engineering – David Broad & Co
Project Management – LBA
Builder – Len Bogatin & Ass.
Pool – Aloha Pools
Horticulture – ArbourNet
Arborist – Treescape
Lighting – Electrolight
Irrigation – Aquatek
Project Location: Melbourne, Australia
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2015