Thursday Throwback: Glass house at Hendra an eye -catcher
- 02 Nov 2017
Glass House Residence at Hendra
This week we take a spin back in time to 1974 when Noel designed an eye-catching glass house for his parents in Hendra. An architect can get away with lots of tricks when designing for his parents. When Noel was presented with the Institute of Architects Awards- Citation for Meritorious Architecture in 1978, Sir Roy Grounds said “Noel, I should not be presenting you this award, but I should be presenting your parents for having to live in this”.
Noel doesn’t know how his parents lived there for so long either, but they did, for the rest of their life until this year, when Noel’s parents passed away.
This high-tech building using steel and pre-cast concrete is now a Pilates studio, which is a most apt re-use of the building.
Here’s the text from the original article on the house:
The Courier Mail, reported on Thursday July 29, 1976 the following article, which appeared in “The Family Pages” by Christine Hogan:
Hundreds of visitors during the last few months have stopped to look at a house being built in Zillman Road, Hendra.
Architect, Noel Robinson, said most people thought the interesting and innovative house he had designed for his parents was either a church or a shop.
From the side, the glass walled house looks like a greenhouse. Mr Robinson said the house, 20 squares on two levels owed much to European styling.” But even though it is something like designs now being done in Denmark, the house is ideal for Queensland’s climate”, Mr Robinson said.
Two walls of the house were made from Belgian grey glass, which acted as a sort of windscreen, Mr Robinson said.
“People cannot see in during the day, but the glass walls on the southern and eastern sides allow in all the available light”, he said.
The walls and the rubber-over-light weight concrete roof are supported by a tubular steel frame, which has been used as an integral part of the house design. “I could have used thicker tubular steel for the outside wall supports and reduced the size of the internal struts”, Mr Robinson said.
“But I preferred the look of all the cross bars”, he said.
Mr Robinson designed the house more than two years ago.
Because of structural difficulties, he decided to contract for the house himself and act as the builder.
“The house will probably cost around $35,000 now” he said.
“A house builder could not really have managed it and a commercial builder would have been too expensive,” Mr Robinson said.
The downstairs level has an entrance area, sitting room, dining room, family room, billiard table area, kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
Upstairs, there is a master bedroom, dressing room, bathroom and a dormitory style bedroom.
Access to the second level is by a flight of heavy industrial stairs which would be appropriate in a machine room.
“The trend overseas is toward the heavy, industrial feeling in design”, Mr Robinson said.
Upstairs, the walls finish about chest height, except for the bathroom and dressing room, which are both cut off completely from the surrounding space.
Along the northern exposure, the house has white louvre windows upstairs and most of the downstairs area.
“The louvres are to take advantage of the northerly breezes in summer”, Mr Robinson said.
The main bedroom upstairs and the family room downstairs are on the north-eastern corner of the house, for winter sun.
“Every design principle in this house is simply standard practice”, he said.
“What I have tried to end up with is a completely different type of environment”.
The colour scheme of the house when Mr and Mrs Robinson move in will vary from a pure white Indian carpet, through to bright green I the family room, chocolate brown Swedish furniture in the sitting room and red and white in the master bedroom.
For the practical minded, Mr Robinson said all the glass surfaces could be cleaned easily, and the cross beams could be reached without much trouble.
Do you remember living in Hendra at the time that this iconic house was built? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to see our other projects, visit this page.