The project started with the intent to regenerate a forgotten piece of land in a dense Coburg pocket. Felicity and her husband, architect Marc Bernstein, purchased the awkwardly shaped 250 square metre block to make it happen, but council deemed the land ‘undevelopable’, and banks were unwilling to approve finances.

~ Amelia Barnes from,

To be clear: The property is 250 square-meters, or ~1,700 square-feet. Get to a large computer screen. Get your beverage of choice. Then, click through and get lost on that site.

Meanwhile, the thing that struck me was the undulating ground cover outside the master bedroom. It’s good (but not particularly original) to use something that doesn’t require a lot of water (as opposed to turf grasses)—but to shape the ground into something interesting struck me as whimsical. If I don’t have to mow it, then it doesn’t need to be flat. I wonder where else, in the design of my own environment, am I stuck in my thinking.



Diatoms are a major group of algae found in the oceans, waterways and soils of the world. Living diatoms make up a significant portion of the Earth’s biomass: they generate about 20 to 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year, […] and constitute nearly half of the organic material found in the oceans. The shells of dead diatoms can reach as much as a half-mile (800 m) deep on the ocean floor, and the entire Amazon basin is fertilized annually by 27 million tons of diatom shell dust transported by transatlantic winds from the African Sahara.

~ From

I had grasped long ago that diatoms where single-cellular plants. But somehow I missed the, “with shells,” bit. Diatomaceous earth suddenly makes sense. I had always pictured the microscopic little individual diatoms that I’d seen in books; various shapes and sizes, floating in water. But I hadn’t imagined the shapes, structures and types of shells they’re building out of silicon! Turns out, people interested in nanotechnology are particularly interested in diatoms. Wonders never cease.


Sarah P Duke Gardens

Perspective and scale; Tiny moss or a hill covered in tall grass? Bald Cypress tree or the leg of an enormous dinosaur? Towering Red Oak tree or a single neuron? Moss on a rock or an Alpine mountain face with a distant forest? Spending the morning trying to exercise my visual perspectives.