Contextual design can mean many things in many places. Australia is a land of open spaces and oases, where leaf cover is coveted when found – making this design by Undercurrent a kind of microcosmic idealized ecosystem within its larger environment. This leaf-roofed house is contemporary but it also uses new technologies and complex forms to and effect that is also ultimately as naturalistic as it is innovative.
Of course, there are practical benefits to this structurally unusual home addition. The transparent layer of glazing around the perimeter reinforces the tree-like appearance of the building from a distance but also makes the walls visually permeable up close, connecting outside with inside.
Like roots or branches, the copper “leaf” roof is held aloft by an ever-twisting system of curved steel “branches” – abstracted and clearly structural but also quite tree-like in their design, adding another point of apparent connection between the forest outside and the structure within.
With evolving modeling tools and constructive technologies we are likely to see more and more structures like this cropping up in residential use. The expressive forms associated with reflective metal-clad museums (of an architect who will rename unnamed) are no longer limited to institutional and other large-scale construction projects.