Brisbane Open House
Highgate Hill
Saturday // 9am to 12pm
Pre-booked guided tours only

Terrarium House was created by bringing together layers of memories from the owners’ childhoods and travels. It began as an exercise in pragmatics, managing problematic site conditions and a 100-year-old cottage crumbling into a backyard jungle.

Entering into a private world through a vine-covered screen, the front verandah now contains protected external stairs. A lush, plant-filled void draws you downstairs.  The lower living level is detailed to conjure memories of the former under-croft. Dark ceilings create compression. Doors are detailed to disappear making the space ambiguous, are you inside the house or still outside? Concrete floors, walls and perimeter ledge ground you, sitting slightly below garden level in a breezy, cool under-croft. This is a space sitting in shadow, allowing retreat from the intense Queensland light. Private rooms of the house sit above. Bedrooms open wide onto a hallway space, making a larger room for children to play together. For privacy, sliding panels close, creating separation and retreat. The bathroom and main bedroom sit adjacent a large void in the rear north-east corner of the house. The connection of the two levels enables chatter and activity.

How to book Saturday

If you are an architect or architecture student, please contact John Ellway directly on with your name & contact number to register for a tour, otherwise please make your booking through the booking button.

Tour Tips

Limited wheelchair access

Booked out

Terrarium House

John Ellway