Photograph courtesy Balagna Architects, 2012 Photograph courtesy Balagna Architects, 2012

Between Predictable & Unexpected

Location: Eastern Suburbs, Sydney

Project Team: Terragram Pty Ltd

Architect: Balagna Architects

Landscape Contractor: Bates Landscape Services

Builder: Asheville Pacific Pty Ltd

Year: 2009 - 2011

To clearly distinguish new and old, the building volumes are separated by the insertion of two tiny gardens - the gardens of 'meidosems'. The client, an art collector, appreciated our tendency to seek sculptural qualities in designed landscape. Unusual construction techniques were used to construct green mounds (including shredded paper as landscape paper mache). A theatrical atmosphere is evoked by incorporation of artificial mist.The living room window frames a very narrow space that is notoriously difficult to treat. Small leafed plants survive on charred and sculpted trunks, which were specifically selected by designers in the Blue Mountains. We personally hacked, sliced and charred the dead trunks, before they were transported on site. The installation and spatial arrangement was done directly on site. This project is another example demonstrating how important the personal presence of the designer on site is.

The ground floor garden contains a refurbished and enlarged pool and simple palette of evergreen plants that form a green carpet under predominantly existing trees. Earthworks unraveled sandstone outcrops that lend the area a stronger character and help to anchor building elements in the site.