City Greening: House of 2 Gardens 2016

City Greening: House of 2 Gardens
Highgate Hill 4101
Housing Type
Standalone House
House Size
House: 144.5 sqm, Green roof: 90sqm
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Greg Thornton Constructions
Project Type
New Build
Lisa Marie Daunt and Mark Joseph Hogan
Opening Hours
11-12pm and 2-3pm for ticket holders

Tickets to this house have all been reserved!

Visit our house, built on a former food garden tended by a neighbouring family. This cultural value and our passion for food growing inspired our joint design that makes the most of the small block.

The house sits back from the north boundary to optimise winter sun and preserve the original raised garden bed, which supports herbs originating from its first crop. A compact design was needed for the narrow block, in order not to build larger than necessary. Movable screens, generous ceiling heights, wide openings to the outdoors and a large deck make the spaces feel more generous and allow the home to expand for visitors.

A slightly elevated boardwalk leads to the house, allowing a direct connection with nature that continues throughout. Stepping down the slope along the narrow block, the internal spaces hover just above to maximise interaction with the food garden. The cantilevered pathway protects the garden from footprints, allows plants to grow underneath in wetter times and allows better storm water flow.

As the block had never been built on we felt a strong need to replace the amount of garden we were going to displace, by putting it back on the roof.

As the block had never been built on we felt a strong need to replace the amount of garden we were going to displace, by putting it back on the roof. The extensive type green roof was designed and built by the owners, with some help from friends and family, with an emphasis on using hardy native plants that require no additional irrigation once established.

The lid of a 20,000 litre tank forms the floor of the living room with its exposed polished concrete top decorated with quartz collected on site. Built from blockwork rather than precast, to avoid damaging the nut trees with the use of a crane, the tank also provides a retaining wall to the workshop below, thermal mass to stabilise internal temperatures and an aesthetic separation between the ply floors of private spaces and the timber-floored living areas.

There is no active cooling in this naturally ventilated house. The upper bedroom and ensuite act as a thermal chimney and draw in pre-cooled air over vegetation through low-level louvres downstairs.

The choice to use timber was a direct response to the town planning requirements of the residential character code and the inter-war neighbouring houses. It was also the simplest way to retain the trees and form of the existing garden. However, it was the framing for the green roof and its soffit where timber came into its own – enabling a thinner edge to the green roof build-up than alternative construction methods could.

All timber and finishes were selected with sustainability, cost and long term maintenance in mind. However, it was the recycled timber pieces, found objects and timber prepped by the owner/painter/architects that were combined into the design, which enabled unique narratives of personal meaning to be embodied in the experience of the build. Natural materials and the select use of primary colours create delight and playfulness. This is a comfortable and calm home to live in, and a house that took wellness and sustainability seriously.

This text was adapted from an article from Sanctuary magazine, Issue 34 by Emma Scragg, Images from Kate Mathieson


Building Type
Lightweight construction
Recycled and reused
laundry tub, feature fence posts, waste sample tiles
Sustainable materials
Locally sourced timbers
Healthy home materials
Low VOC and water based paints
Windows and Doors
Low-e, films
Louvre windows
Clerestory windows
Window/door materials and coverings
Renewable energy
Solar PV grid connect
Water heating
Solar hot water (evacuated tube)
Passive heating cooling
Cross ventilation
Thermal chimney
Active heating cooling
low voltage 'in-slab' heating (PV powered)
Type: Tontine Insuloft recycled polyester thermal batts and Bradford acoustic batts,
Rating: R4.65
Internal and external walls
Type: Tontine Insuloft recycled polyester and Bradford SoundScreen,
Rating: R2.8
Type: Foilboard,
Rating: R1.4
Water harvesting and water saving
Above ground storage
Type: Blockwork,
Size: 20,000L
Stormwater management
Low flow shower heads
Low flow taps
Drip irrigation
Storage connected to
Energy efficiency
Efficient lighting
Draught proofing
Efficient appliances
Drip irrigation
Water wise plants
Edible garden
Green roofs
Council property located in:
Connected to gas?