(-) Glass House

WINNER – ARCHITECTS INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (AIA) 2013 FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND AWARDS – HOUSE OF THE YEAR
WINNER – 2013 AIA ARCHITECTURE AWARDS – QUEENSLAND STATE AWARD, RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE HOUSES
WINNER – 2013 AIA ARCHITECTURE AWARDS – NATIONAL COMMENDATION FOR RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE HOUSES
WINNER – 2013 AIA ARCHITECTURE AWARDS – NATIONAL COMMENDATION FOR SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

Conceptual framework:
This project is a re-presentation of Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan Conneticut USA – “less the glass” making it a perfectly adaptable modernist prototype for contemporary living in tropical latitude.

Public and Cultural Benefits:
A new housing prototype and rethink on the possibilities in a typical suburban context within our tropical cities.

Relationship of Built Form to Context:
In contrast to the typical condensed street frontage, we sited this house setback deep into the block, providing for an expansive front garden and rear outlook onto a freshwater creek. This provided us with the opportunity to successfully re-present an iconic modernist pavilion within a wet tropical setting, visible from the street as a distinct alternative and new suburban typology.

Program Resolution:
The main living areas and circulation zones are literally open, outdoor conditions under cover. Functional ‘pods’ figure in plan to enclose bedrooms, bathrooms, a lounge / music room and an e-glazed office – all secure by way of sliding glass panels and individually air-conditioned. This way limiting the carbon footprint to be controlled by the residents on an ‘as needed’ operation basis. A central dappled-light filled ‘internal’ courtyard features the swimming pool as a feature garden within the main living and dining spaces. Open to the sky, this central garden provides a regular spectacle in tropical downpours as a “rain curtain”. The office ‘pod’ features glazed walls that double as transparent bookshelves, conceptually as display case featuring a ‘field’ of bookends.

Integration of Allied Disciplines:
In all of our work, we strive for innovation and new solutions to the problems of living with climate change in the 21st Century. Integration of Allied Disciplines was critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the project, in particular the hydraulic & structural engineering which not only facilitated the advanced sustainability initiatives but also the practical requirements for withstanding annual cyclonic weather events.

Cost/Value Outcome:
The project budget was clearly defined at the outset, not to be exceeded. The project was delivered on time and on-budget through positive management of the functional requirements meeting with the architectural intent. We looked to minimising finishing trades where possible, in the spirit of the great modernist houses of the 20th Century, intentionally raw yet elegant.

Sustainability:
Our (-)Glass House is Carbon Neutral in operation. All energy is renewable, provided by the large photovoltaic & inverter array with feed-back to the power grid, off-setting the use of air-conditioning and LED lighting. The entire roof area is harvested into a 45,000 ltr in-ground water tank integrated with the hydraulic systems for user control over diversion between irrigation and other non-potable operations.

Response to Client and User needs:
The client requested that the house be exemplar as best practice for universal access. Careful consideration was taken in the development of all details such that the entire house is independently accessible via wheelchair.