Designed for expatriate Australians working in Bucharest, Romania, Maleny house celebrates both its site – perched on the edge of the remnant rim of the Glass House range, and its essence of place – standing high amongst the sky and mountains. Inextricably connected to its landscape it has qualities of being anchored, robust and earthbound, as well as being transparent light and floating. As such it has been translated into a place of ‘glass and stone’.
A memorable sense of place can be found in the sanctuary of the courtyard space, defined ambiguously through a series of indoor and outdoor thresholds of transparent internal spaces. It sits between the refuge of a monumental basalt garden wall and the broader natural volcanic landscape. Engaging with the existing topography, orientation, views and vegetation, this house balances economy with fine craft. It celebrates economical finishes, directness and authenticity through natural, textured and unadorned surfaces, which are embroidered with highly crafted timber elements and pieces. These surfaces, finishes and details realise the Japanese concept of ‘wabi sabi’: the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, allowed to weather and evolve over time.
We developed sustainable cooling and lighting systems for the house, harnessing the available breezes and the winter sun. We also chose to build with natural, local or recycled materials such as locally sourced hardwood, plantation grown plywood cladding and lining, recycled Blackbutt timber floors, local quarry rock, and endemic garden species.