OUTDOOR DESIGN & LIVING Ed. 26 UNIVERSAL MAGAZINES
Located close to Perth’s Swan River, this award-winning garden is a testament to the design prowess of Matthew Gee of Newforms Landscape Architecture, and the construction expertise of Phase3 Landscape Construction.
“Almost structuralist in character, the strongly geometric design has a subtle Asian feel about it and places a heavy emphasis on the relationship between shape, form, and function,” says project designer Matthew Gee.
“The brief called for a modern landscape that would help set the house apart from the neighbouring residence, which was of similar architectural design. We were to include a plunge pool, pavilion, sundeck, water feature, storage shed in the rear garden, and make a strong entry statement in the front,” says project director Ryan Healy. “The clients also requested that we make an amendment to the facade of the existing. This gave us more opportunity to integrate the building into the landscape, which we did in the form of a large steel awning which echoes the other steel structures throughout the design.”
Given the site’s close proximity to the river, an important consideration was the location of the water table. This made the construction of the courtyard, which boasts a stunning water feature and light box, the biggest challenge. Explains Matthew: “The courtyard contains a six-metre-deep concrete well and a steel access hatch leading to a pump that removes excess water when the water table is too high. The light box conceals the manhole to the well and enhances the water feature, which is a focal point upon entering the house. The water feature is constructed from large solid granite blocks stacked together to form the reservoir. Granite tiled panels form the water wall with steel strips proud of the face acting to articulate water flow over the surface of the tiles.”
The custom-built steel roof structures are also standout elements of the design. Created for the existing residence, gate house, building entrance, and pool area, each of these structures, except for the facade awning, were designed and constructed using a single wrapping steel element that forms both the support and fascia for the structures.
Maintaining a high architectural aesthetic, Newforms has designed a flexible landscape that makes optimum use of the long, narrow site, accommodates the needs of a family that includes four active teenagers, and has garnered three awards. In the 2010 LIAWA Awards of Excellence, it won for Newforms Landscape Architecture the Best Overall Design as well as the Designer — Residential and Commercial — 100-500sqm category awards. In the 2011 LAI National Awards, it won for Phase3 Landscape Construction the Residential Contractor over $150,000 award.