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  • Writer's pictureDeeDee Birch

Healthy Design In The Wild: Enriched Moments of Life In Transition Spaces



In landscape ecology, life happens at the edge - in moments of transition. The place where two individual ecosystems meet creates critical biodiversity, habitat, and ecological services. The same can be said for homes. There is an opportunity for enriched moments of living in our transition spaces, which are too often ignored and underutilized.


This renovation of a historic property in Australia marries a myriad of opposites to transform a hallway into a biophilic, restorative place of transition: the indoors with the outdoors, the old with the new, movement with rest. The arched doorway with decorative moldings combine with the terrazzo floors and wood merge historic features with contemporary aesthetics. The daylight, greenery, and operable door make this interior space feel like it's outside, which reinforces one's sense of time and ecology by heightening our awareness of local climatic conditions. Window seats invite occupants to pause, sit down, and rest while the sense of prospect (views down the hall) urge movement forward.


This hallway connects multiple rooms and functions within the home to one another and it connects the occupant with the natural world. The complexity and consideration put into this small space results in something magical - much like the places where two habitats meet in nature.


This project teaches us a lot about what can be improved in contemporary residential design. Perhaps most significantly, it reminds us that transitional spaces like this one - hallways, stairs, entries - are not dead spaces. Every square foot counts. As an indoor species navigating a post-pandemic landscape, many of us spend significant amounts of time at home. Our circulation paths in domestic spaces, the environment we create in those spaces, now impacts our health as much as they would in a commercial context.


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