Built in the 1930s, the property includes a heritage-listed house, squash court and gardens. The original owner, Henri Van de Velde, was an industrial magnate who created the company Feltex, manufacturer of Australia’s first felt flooring.
The brief called for a new visitor center at the entrance to the Gardens. The new building is contemporary in material and form, designed to complement the existing heritage buildings, which would have been modern in their time.
Located back from the street near the carpark, the visitor center provides ticketing to the gardens, information for visitors, including site guides, and a shop. Taking inspiration from Van de Velde’s felt carpet tiles, the building sits on a concrete ‘carpet’ that begins as an outdoor deck, becoming the floor of the shop, the back wall and then ceiling; a folder magic carpet. A flower motif is stenciled onto all these surfaces giving a domestic quality. The exterior of the building is clad in a dark stained timber, allowing the building to recede into the surrounding foliage.
Location: Everglades Avenue, Leura NSW, Australia 33°43’16.64″S, 150°20’18.14″E
Team: Thierry Lacoste, David Stevenson, Monica Edwards, Angela Rowson, Tommy Yinhui Zhou
Project manager: Richard Dinham
Landscape architect: Context: Oi Choong, Hamish Dounan, James Lim, Virginia Anderson
Structural engineer: Simpson Design Associates – Marie O’Looney
ESD, hydraulic and electrical engineer: Floth – Ray Leung, Jim Allen, Ian Stalker
Heritage: City Plan Services: Kerime Danis
Signage: Frost* Design: Bianca Mediati, Carlo Giannasca
Contractor: Bellamy Builders
Photography / images: Lacoste+Stevenson Architects, Feltex