There is a long tradition of naming houses. After an act passed in Britain in 1762, buildings acquired street numbers, rendering other kinds of names less necessary in identifying a place. House names became much rarer. As discussed in the TED talk, naming Avery Green was an important aspect of her transformation, and of The Jane Approach, that she has helped to develop.
The name of this house needed to be fit for a person, with a first, familiar name, and a second, family name. Before she was named, she had been thought about as the 'outside-in, downside-up house' - both an inversion of upside-down and inside-out, and a reference to the way she was starting to turn things on their head: the ceiling was becoming a landscape, the garden was growing indoors, and she was becoming young and fresh despite her age. However, as discussed in the TED talk, this 'name' just couldn't capture the breadth of her qualities –reducing her to a design idea, and she is more than that.
From early in the design process, her transformation involved the idea of drawing out her Victorian historical origins through bringing forward the invention and love for wintergardens and greenhouses in the Victorian era. She was becoming green. Her second name was 'Evergreen' for quite some time, but was shortened to the less lyrical and simpler, 'Green'. Being a word also associated with both 'sustainability' and the fresh, openness of the raw and inexperienced, it captured many dimensions of her architectural flavour.
'Avery' has some phonetic resonance in that it sounds like 'aviary' - an enclosure fit for birds. Her interior, being green, lofty and light, seemed aviary-like. Light flutters in her, like passing flocks of birds. 'Avery' can also easily slip into 'a very' – a way of giving emphasis. She is a very green house.
Then, most obscurely, the 'Avery Index' is a catalogue of architectural periodicals. The great buildings of the world are discussed inside the territory that the Avery Index maps out. In obscure ways, Avery Green is a collection of implicit essays about architecture.
One of these hidden stories lies in an homage to the artist-architect pair Arakawa and Gins, who are sometimes referred to as 'AG' – Avery Green's initials. Their extraordinary building, the Bioscleave House in the Hamptons in New York state, has been an influence on the recent transformation of Avery Green particularly by encouraging an architectural playfulness. Having spent several short periods of time living at the Bioscleave House, Pia Ednie-Brown, bought her experiences of this 'architectural creature' to the process of renewal. It was from staying there that she came to think more about how buildings might be considered as entities such as 'persons', with which we have deep relationships.
An homage to AG is rendered in the bedroom cupboard handles, as pictured below: