Vardo Hut
Location Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
Size Small
Completed 2015
Builder Visual Builders
Photography Andy Johnson

When conceptualising our entry for the Kids Under Cover Cubby House Challenge the studio set out to capture and celebrate the whimsy of our escapist outlook as children. We’re all really just big kids at heart and it was a wonderful opportunity for Mardi to put her lifelong fascination with nomadic architecture into practice.

With its curved roof, timber features and striped outer walls, it’s easy to picture the Vardo Hut in a forest surrounded by Gypsies. Made from common garden materials such as pine cladding, marine grade ply and low-VOC paints and designed with small nooks and planting ledges that jut from the walls, encouraging flora to slowly takeover the hut will eventually integrate itself into the landscape.

A passionfruit tree and herbs were planted inside so the small inhabitants can connect to nature even when they’re inside the space. Half made of clear acrylic, the hut’s roof also encourages interaction between kids (or big kids) and nature. Climbing up and into a mesh landing gives immediate access to the sky, where children can lie on a supportive net and find characters in the clouds.

The petite three by three metre structure has multiple entry points, windows and hatches to allow the breeze to pass through as children play inside. With the romantic vision of a childhood spent outdoors slipping away with each technological advancement, incorporating these multiple connections to nature was an integral part of the process.

The Vardo Hut was meticulously built by Visual Builders and awarded the People’s Choice Award, raising $9,000 at the auction for the Kids Under Cover charity, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing youth homelessness.