A collection of small buildings form the entrance to a new public garden at Mount Penang, an hour north of Sydney. While they announce the presence of the contemporary garden, they do not distract from the experience once in the garden itself.
At the garden’s entrance, a red carpet is rolled out across the landscape. Three small pavilions seemingly placed at random on a bright red welcome mat house a café, WCs, a shop and ticketing. The red welcome mat is a metaphor for VIP whose surface follows the undulating terrain. Signage for the gardens and pavilions is painted in large type across this artificial landscape.
The building geometry is simple and modular. The boxes are arranged to form a gateway to the bridge and the garden beyond. Each of the four facades is treated differently: one is clad in mirror, another is rhythmic timber slats, a third is covered with climbing vines on a mesh frame and the last is printed vinyl with super graphics. Viewed on arrival the facades are colourful and striking. When viewed from the garden, the timber and mirrored facades recede and reflect the landscape.
Location: Mount Penang, Kariong, Gosford NSW, Australia 33°25’40.92″S, 151°17’43.12″E
Awards: 2005 NSW RAIA Civic Architecture Commendation for “Welcome Mat”
Design team: Thierry Lacoste, David Stevenson, Beth Hughes
Landscape architect: Anton James Design
Structure: Structure Mechanics and Dynamics
Quantity surveyor: Page Kirkland
Heritage consultant: Geoffrey Britton
Photography / images: Brett Boardman, Thierry Lacoste,
Artwork: Reworking of Edouard Manet painting ‘Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe’