The Mt Eliza Townhouses project is a development unlike any other on the Mornington Peninsula. The project contends with two major legacies. The first being the influence of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin, as their nearby Ranelagh Estate masterplan has defined the character of living in Mt Eliza for nearly 100 years. The second being the intimate relationship between the built environment of Mt Eliza and the landscape within which it sits. This relationship to landscape is at the core of the projects design; exploring a contemporary interpretation of the Griffin’s “Garden Suburb”; where landscape and architecture are congruous and more rigorously interlaced.
The material palette is limited to articulated masonry, charred timber, and natural timber finishes – largely forming a backdrop to planting and landscaping across the site. This palette is articulated in such a way as to evoke the various landscape characteristics of Mt Eliza – from the scrubby coastal planting, to the rocky cliff sides. The patternation of the masonry in the design also refers to the architectural language of the Griffin’s, who famously invented the knit-lock brick construction technique. At the private scale, each house and room is oriented to maximise daylighting amenity and view lines to either private or public landscape across the site.
The houses are distributed at the perimeter of the property, enclosing a public park at its centre. Gradients of privacy are managed by careful landscape treatment, and each house bleeds seamlessly into the shared park, where an existing heritage building will operate as a café – activating the park with both residents, and the broader community.