— observations from the Blue Mountains Design Bureau —

MAP II – The Morten House + Eco Spirit


Held in April 2014, the Morten House was the second open house in Modern Art Project’s (MAP) highly successful program of events exploring the curation of contemporary art in domestic architecture and gardens.

Located in the quiet village of Woodford in the Central Blue Mountains, the Morten House is a rare example of truly sublime architecture. This is a home that sits in complete harmony with it’s beautiful bush setting overlooking the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park.

Almost completely hidden from view, the house is nestled into a north facing gully underneath a lush native roof top garden. Designed and constructed in 1979 by the goddaughter of Walter Burley Griffin, Deidre Morton and her husband Ivor, the house resonates with many of the passive design principles of Griffin’s Castlecrag houses, immersing itself holistically into the landscape.

The house is more reminiscent of a cave than a building. The layout was informed by passive design principles with north facing living spaces overlooking the gully, a central courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate into the rear bedrooms and the impressive roof top garden that insulates the home from both extreme cold and heat.

The use of natural materials, thick mud brick walls, timber framed windows and slate floors, enclosed under the thick concrete slab of the roof top garden, reinforces this cave analogy. The property is now owned and cared for by Cristina Ricci, her partner biologist John Porter and their young family, who welcomed MAP as hosts for ‘Eco Spirit’.

Curated by exhibiting artist Jacqueline Drinkall, Eco Spirit ‘celebrates the powers of the imagination to create vibrant and transcendental artistic productions in the social space of the home.’  The juxtaposition of the works exhibited truly resonate with this unique and well loved Australian family home.

Eco Spirit featured artists Alex Wisser, Ben Denham, Beata Geyer/James Culkin, Bim Morten, Fiona Davis, Georgie Pollard, Gianni Wise, John A Douglas, Locust Jones, Paul Greedy/Tom Ellard, Sarah-Jane Norman, Sarah Keighery and Vicky Browne.


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