The Bendemeer residence is near completion and the gabion walls are one of the unique features of this project. During early design, we envisioned a layering of thick horizontal walls that not only set up layout of the project on the site, but paralleled a ridge that ran through the site. The client brought up the idea to integrate gabion walls in the areas that were conceptualized as heavier walls. They were a perfect element to organize the project on site and to add the layering we were looking to achieve on the building’s facade.
Gabion walls are an old building technology that has been utilized for thousands of years. Often you’ll notice them used as retaining walls and other site or landscaping structures, but here they are used as an exterior material as a way of breaking down the mass of the residence and providing a unique organic texture to the it’s surface. As a long lasting material, gabion walls help to create a link between the building and the site.
Bendemeer project used approximately 50-60 yards of rock. The installation of gabion walls is labor intensive. Each rock was hand placed with the intention that each rock’s flattest side would face the exterior. They were placed inside the 9″ deep, fabricated cages. Cages are metal mesh made of either coated, galvanized, or stainless steel. In this case, galvanized steel wire was used. The cages are set on a bed of compacted crushed stone. They do, however, have hidden posts running up within the freestanding walls.
A few items need to be considered with using a gabion wall system as an exterior wall finish. The designed location of the walls are best when not located in an area of wall penetrations. Vents, cable boxes, hose bibs, etc. are challenging to work around. Another consideration is that they can provide a home for critters. The owner will have to recognize that this may be a possibility. This project’s building site is very wooded and wildlife is a natural part of the setting in this case anyway.
Installation and Construction Photos by: ClearBrook Landscaping & Lawncare