Garden House

An Experiment In Ecological Integration

Written by Kacie McGeary
Photographed by Rory Gardiner

In the outer woodlands of Melbourne, Australia, a crystalline structure sits camouflaged amid the timeworn bush. From a distance, only fragments of its translucent facade are discernible, making its ethereal presence all the more illusory.

But if one follows the reflections cast from its outer walls, a familiar silhouette begins to take shape. Resemblant of a post-and-rafter greenhouse, the home lends a dreamlike quality to the notably wild terrain. Known predominantly as Garden House, this open sanctuary is a beautiful example of the role that architecture can play in its surrounding ecosystem.

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The genesis of Garden House dates back roughly 10 years, to when Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright first discovered the verdant area. Having lived near the urban center of the city for a number of years, the architects had been wanting to design a home near a surf beach where they could spend more time outdoors. After searching the southern coast for possible build sites, they happened upon a piece of land in a small settlement near Western Port Bay, a mere 10 kilometers from the ocean.

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Architecture, Baracco Wright
Architecture, Baracco Wright

What struck them most, however, was not the location, but the fact that the plot contained remnants of pre-colonial vegetation. Interested in enacting environmental repair, the couple bought the land straight away, hoping they could restore the endemic plant life to its natural state.

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Architecture, Baracco Wright
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