Words by Phillip Withers, Images by Etienne Mortier
A wonderful urban garden, a sustainable system, and now we are blessed to say its an award winning garden as it has taken out the ‘Feature Landscape of the year’ at the Landscape Victoria awards 2017.
The story goes that it was 18 months since the day that Tim and his wife Athalie returned from Singapore to mighty Melbourne and the heart of Richmond. They were looking for something of interest by the city and came back to a house that they bid on 16 years prior only to see that it was back on the market, a dream come true in there eyes…
They had understood that there was some significance to this building as it was part of the original Carlton United Brewery. This section was the Malt house and was converted some 23 years ago involving the famous Melbourne architects Fender Katsalidis, whom looked to retain its old warehouse flair with a more exotic style of living.
After living in the space for some time, Tim and Athalie realised the space needed to feel a bit more like home as Tim would put it. “We didn’t want to live in a completely industrial feeling space, we want to be living in a home” This is when they engaged Phillip Withers Landscape Design in to help to design the space surrounding the pool to look for a more softer connection to the old industrial history of the building that they so enjoyed.
The building was set out as a split level canvas, the main areas of the kitchen and living areas overlook an indoor pool area, yes that’s right a pool area! With its astonishing height to the building, it looks to emphasize the great expanse of wall. These walls were ready to be approached with the hero shot and softness of plant life to help form the homely feel.
Tim wanted to make sure with the design “that it had a connection to the building and history” and also that the planting gave some lusciousness and feeling to the area. So the team at Phillip Withers got to work and looked to design a space that used the geometric steel structural elements which payed influence to the front of the building. The softness then came through a vertical garden full of green and hints of colour to make a feeling of viridus. Tim was also adamant that the solution be something they could easily maintain. So Phillip and Emmaline from Phillip Withers got to work in designing a system that could function to feed, water and collect the runoff and then send it through a tank system fitted into the houses laundry for ease of use.
Being an indoor garden with a very large Skylight that opens up to let the air in on occasion. The area for most part seems to retain a quite tropical microclimate which would add to the couples brief and suit the aspect to include plants such as Liriopes as the fillers, Rhipsalis as the texture and Crotons as the Pop.
So now as the plants settle into there new home, bright and happy! Tim and Athalie are also taking comfort adapting to there new luscious rainforest as the Malt house lives on…
Design and Vertical Garden by Phillip Withers Landscape Design, Steel frame and Construction by Inside Out Custom Living