Page D2.2 . 02 April 2003                     
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    Gold Coast Pavilion

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    Modern Roots

    The two pavilions executed in glass, steel, and concrete have a fine modern pedigree. The Gold Coast House immediately brings to mind such icons as the Barcelona Pavilion and the Farnsworth House of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Villa Savoye of Le Corbusier. Such modern landmarks — especially Farnsworth and Savoye — are wholly appropriate given the high-grass-covered site that seems on the edge of nowhere (although views to and from nearby neighbors are effectively screened thanks to an existing stand of trees).

    In addition to these modern progenitors, the Gold Coast House is also a product of the traditional Australian notion of the "house as verandah." The houses of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt are the epitome of this concept, and here innovarchi deftly blends modern and vernacular architectural ideas.

    The client uses this house for entertaining friends as well as practicing her craft as a dancer and teacher, and the house dedicates the ground floors of the two unequally sized pavilions to these activities. Conceptually, we might see these as the "earth-bound" pleasures of the house — art as the foundation on which one's life is built. These spaces are contained within a block-wall structure that opens out to down-slope views.

    Upper-Level Living

    Two exterior staircases, one for each pavilion, lead to the upper terrace, which is at grade with the site's up-slope. The outdoor terrace is a single plane that can be used equally for dance or for guests standing about with drinks on a warm, breezy evening.

    Despite their glassy, transparent nature, the upper floors of the pavilions house the more private precincts. An apartment, with its own bathroom, for the client's mother is in the smaller one, while the larger one accommodates a larger living space, a bedroom, and a bath-and-a-half.

    The design incorporates moveable floor-to-ceiling screens and walls to offer temporary privacy when needed. However, some of this house's most luxurious appeal is in its bathtubs when open to the glass wall and the view beyond.

    Climate-sensitive design, rather than mechanical cooling, was used to make this house comfortable in its stiflingly hot tropical region, where temperatures go well over 100-degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Centigrade). The outdoor verandah and roof overhangs provide welcome shade for both levels in the summer. Jalousie windows on the house's approach side offer a clean way of opening the glass walls, while on the other side of the house entire glass walls can be moved to provide an unrestricted flow of cooling breezes.

    The thin-framed, moveable glass walls were engineered by John Perry to be resistant to tropical storms and cyclones. There are no thresholds below them, making a clean, uninterrupted floor plane from the house out to the verandah (which is used for dining, reading, or conversation) and visually extending the house's space to the horizon.

    The concrete floors have been left natural except for a transparent sealer. As a thermal mass, they provide some warmth at night when temperatures fall. Water used by the occupants of this house is collected on site, and all waste water is managed on site.

    In the spirit of Mies and Le Corbusier, the Gold Coast House commands the grassy sea of the Queensland outback with elegance and grace — a life raft of modern space.   >>>

    Michael J. Crosbie is editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, a senior associate with Steven Winter Associates, and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek.

     

    Continue...

    ArchWeek Image

    The Gold Coast House in Queensland, Australia designed by the Sydney-based firm innovarchi.
    Photo: Jon Linkins

    ArchWeek Image

    The two upper-story glass pavilions are separated by an open terrace.
    Photo: Giulietta Biraghi

    ArchWeek Image

    Section through Gold Coast House and lower-story ballet studio.
    Image: innovarchi

    ArchWeek Image

    Lower floor plan, Gold Coast House.
    Image: innovarchi

    ArchWeek Image

    Upper floor plan, Gold Coast House.
    Image: innovarchi

    ArchWeek Image

    The glass-walled lounge.
    Photo: Giulietta Biraghi

    ArchWeek Image

    A narrow verandah looks out over the wilds of Queensland.
    Photo: Giulietta Biraghi

    ArchWeek Image

    The upper-floor terrace also serves as a dance/ performance deck.
    Photo: Giulietta Biraghi

     

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