Shortlisted at last year’s AIDA Awards, Canopy House is a residential concept by Melbourne-based architects Powell & Glenn. The home’s locale – a slightly elevated site flanked by closely set trees – was a blessing and a challenge. The solution needed to be organic and sympathetic to the landscape, so the idea of a concrete treehouse emerged. Described by Powell & Glenn principal architect and director Ed Glenn as “a sculpted response to place”, Canopy House unites a series of tranquil gestures for a family seeking refuge amongst the treetops.
Interested in mindfulness and open-air spaces, the owners sought an ongoing connection to the landscape and parallelism between the architecture and interiors. Not only that, they wanted a home that felt intuitive to their active family lifestyle, all the while offering a place of comfort and solitude.
Architecturally, Canopy House references the open-air concrete buildings of South America; the ground and treetops its anchor. “The site’s cascading topography provided an opportunity to experience the surroundings at multiple levels,” Ed Glenn reveals. At ground level, occupants are made to feel the shape of the earth beneath, while above, they are left “floating in the canopies”.
The Moroso Bloomy side table beside a custom leather seater.
Concrete serves as the binding interior element, as seen in the kitchen. This space also features the grazia&co Iva stools in tan leather.
From the street, the two-storey home is self-effacing despite its concrete facade. Powell & Glenn settled on subtle, sculptural forms that align the home contextually with its surrounds. Bold, clean lines are layered with raw, robust materials to balance the energy of the landscape. “There is an incremental breaking down of elements that helps embed the house with the surroundings while allowing the family to observe the changing conditions of the natural world,” says Ed. Boyle Landscape were imperative to seeing this process through.
Inside Canopy House, sculpted elements, ambient lighting and artisanal pieces create mindful, relaxed spaces. A refined material palette of timber, concrete, glass and steel magnifies these sensations. The frequent use of concrete, especially, establishes inside-outside parallelism, responding, again, to the original brief.
From start to finish, Canopy House by Powell & Glenn is a measured reaction to both people and place.