An inspiring renovation of an existing housing estate – The Secret Garden House that is Mount Eagle Estate – has since retained its relevance to influence a recent renovation by Zen Architects of one of the estate’s original homes, a secret Garden House. Zen Architects enhances the existing natural landscape and ties the garden back into the home.
The midcentury architecture of the secret Garden House had been subjected to minimal changes over the years. Referencing the estate’s design and teardrop shape of the community gardens that once populated it, Zen Architects reflected the curved topographical gestures and fluidity with a desire to subdue the house and make the landscape the hero. Light now enters the house at every opportunity, as do views of the garden beyond.
At the front, the secret Garden House is largely in its original form, although updates have been made through furniture and by optimising thermal comfort – insulating floors and ceilings, and fitting seals and flyscreens to windows. The result is a fully electric home that captures the spirit and beauty of its original 1930s form and exceeds the contemporary 6-star home energy rating.
Upon entry, one is immediately greeted with a panoramic view of the garden beyond – Zen Architects retains the original façade and the front three rooms to provide an unassuming entry that heightens the impact of the interventions beyond. Moving into the extension of the secret Garden House, elements of the landscape – including rock forms, native vegetation and gum trees – inform the natural and organic material palette of the home.
Stepping out through the rear façade, one is immediately connected to the landscape through a curved glass façade and large windows that frame views of the garden throughout the home. Teardrop-shaped gardens wrap around the secret Garden House and, once again, bring them deep into the residence. Curved edges of the kitchen allow for natural flow within the space and tie in with the rest of the dwelling.
Through updating amenities, providing more comfort and allowing a greater connection to the landscape, Zen Architects reconciles the home with the client’s rituals as well as the landscape in which it sits.
00:00 – Introduction to the Secret Garden House
00:42 – The Original House
01:04 – The Project Brief for the Home
01:30 – The Material Palette
02:00 – A Walkthrough of the Secret Garden House
02:55 – The Kitchen
03:38 – Enhancing the Existing Garden and Landscape
04:30 – Favourite Aspects of the House
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Photography by Derek Swalwell.
Architecture by Zen Architects.
Build by Genjusho.
Styling by Studio Georg.
Landscape by Ben Harris Gardens.
Engineering by Keith Patrick & Associates.
Joinery by Kitchens by Peter Gill.
Filmed and Edited by Emble Studio.
Production by The Local Project.
The Local Project acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the land in Australia. We recognise the importance of First Nations peoples in the identity of our country and continuing connections to Country and community. We pay our respect to Elders, past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations people of these lands.
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