General News

A garden of 'chaos and order', Towers Road wins AILA National Award

October 2017

The landscape design of Towers Road Residence, Toorak, by TCL, has won a 2017 National Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence.

Located in one of Melbourne’s most prestigious suburbs, Towers Road Residence is the result of close collaboration between TCL, architects Wood Marsh and the client, to create a ‘poetic garden of structured chaos’ to balance the strength of the building form.

Inspired by natural processes, the garden exhibits a tension between order, juxtaposed with fluidity and randomness; an interplay of strong form and diversity.

“I believe the success of the garden lies in the richness of plant form and function.  Each moment is curated, and there is the sense of garden expanding beyond the limited bounds of the site.  There are moments for play, relaxation and entertainment,” said TCL’s Kate Cullity.  

“The notion of the ‘poetic garden’ and ‘structured chaos’ relates to the way the garden can be graceful and expressive – the planting has a softness and layering, but is not formally arranged,’ added TCL’s Studio Principal, Lisa Howard.

“Paths meander and garden beds are filled with plant mixes with contrasting textures, tones and colour.  The design only reveals parts of the garden from any place within – never giving away too much.  It was about discovery - being able to wander off into the garden and find a secret seating spot,” Lisa said.

A sensory, aesthetic and immersive environment

On arrival from the street, the white painterly bark and delicate foliage of Silver Birches at the property’s frontage act as a foil against the monumental raw concrete façade and provide filtered views through to the building.  As the morning light emerges, a dappled light is cast across the concrete canvas. 

The interior of the house frames views of the central lawn, cabana, pool and extensive garden, beneath the canopy of an established Plane Tree. This rear garden is a rich and layered composition of seasonal evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers.  The garden is navigated through arbours, stepping stones and secret pathways. 

Along the south side of the house a lush circular fernery is nestled between the building walls.  An array of layered plantings and a scattering of granite plinths create an exotic atmosphere.

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ National Gardens Landscape Architecture Award is presented annually to projects that contribute to the role and understanding of the garden in contemporary society and culture.


For more information, contact Hausi Abdul-Karim - | +61 3 9380 4344