We have had the pleasure of performing in exquisite houses and buildings all around the world. See a catalogue of our shows below.
Man About the House
Sited on the edge of a 70-metre high cliff, the plan of Holman House refers to Picasso's painting The Bather. It contains a complex series of fluid living spaces set within a meandering perimeter that arcs, folds and stretches in response to sun, landscape and views. Living and dining areas cantilever out over the ocean, allowing dramatic views up and down the coast. The lower floor forms a base that is built from rough stone walls like an extension of the cliff below. These walls continue along the cliff edge to form a series of eccentric terraced gardens and a vase-shaped rock pool.
Built in 1956 this house is a highly significant example of the 'International Style' and is stylistically linked to the work of notable overseas architects such as Philip Johnson's Glasshouse and Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House both completed in the late 1940s in the USA. In addition it is of considerable architectural interest for being the only structure designed in South Australia by the architect Robin Boyd who achieved international renown. Born in Melbourne in 1919 into a family of well-known artists Boyd became renowned as an architect of the 'new breed' of the 1950s who aspired to develop a functional style suited to the Australian climate and lifestyle. He wrote several widely acclaimed books including 'Australia's Home' (1952) and his attack on unimaginative architecture 'The Australian Ugliness' (1960).
Jacobi House is equally bound to modernist and subtropical architectural principles; a square, timber and glass pavilion, elevated on stumps and topped by a pyramid roof suspended from diagonal, laminated timber beams. Simple but effective technologies enhance the home, such as a roof sprinkler to protect the building from forest fires and integrated ventilation strategies to ensure good environmental performance. Cantilevered verandahs on three sides provide perimeter shading to generous, sliding and louvred openings to maintain effective airflow.
Modelling the building allowed clear and concise communication of the buildings potential to a huge variety of stakeholders; Walter Burley Griffin Historical Society, NSW Heritage Council, Local Community, Client, Council Officers, Councillors, Consultants and the Builder appointed for the demolition and rectification works. The building rectification works have been a long, arduous and expensive task. Significant concrete cancer necessitated the replacement of much of the built form, while the reinstatement of the original chimney has given the building back it’s sense of scale. The building is now home to an ‘artist in residence’ studio, a community gallery space and a café and community meeting place. The incorporation of a lift to enable equitable access to the building included the commissioning of Artist Richard Goodwin for a sculpture to cloak the lift structure, kicking off the public acquisition program for what will become a public sculpture park. This is an ongoing project that will see this small civic building spread its tentacles into the surrounding parkland as funds become available and if the public’s will is expressed loudly enough.
This mid-century marvel was built in 1959, and it sure was lucky to find Tim in 2005 (he is only the third person to own the home)! SO many modernist homes in Australia end up being demolished or re-configured beyond any recognition (devastating!), but Tim is a self confessed architecture nerd, and has been extremely passionate about restoring his beloved pad in keeping with it’s original design. Much of the home is in original condition – sadly the bathrooms had already undergone unsympathetic renovations when Tim purchased the property, so Tim replaced these. Carpet from the 1980′s was removed and the original boards polished.
Tim’s passion for all things mid-century clearly extends to his choice of furniture and interior details. He’s is an avid junk shop fiend – favourite pieces include the Arne Vodder sideboard with the coloured drawers in the loungeroom, a wonky old featherston chair, the Finn Juhl chair in the lounge room… and ‘watching Michelle curl up in the old Womb Chair to feed Bugsy is rather sweet’ he says! Tim is a collector of MANY things – ‘cameras, old records, phones, teapots… I love all of them’ he says. ‘I have some German tea pots and cups that were leftover stock from a homewares store that my parents ran in the late 1960’s, they are rather special to me. I love the stories behind what we collect’.
Central to the concept are ideas of fluidity and exploration. Between the site and the high cliff drop to the ocean are simple sand and gravel tracks, a rarity along the great ocean road. Cliff line trails rise and fall, bend and disperse like capillaries, on occasion opening up to expose exquisite hidden beaches.
Designed for a young family the house caters for their needs now and in the future. A flexible space, referred to as the studio, is housed on top of the new garage forming a double story mass at the rear of the site to help screen large neighbouring buildings. The single story addition to the house engages with the garden with its meandering facade of glass and brick.
The first addition (no 2A Glen Street), completed in 1988, extends the offices on the lower floors and adds a penthouse apartment on top. Entry to the penthouse is into a space two storeys high, with a presentation theatre and facilities for entertaining. A half-elliptical Indian granite dining table allows guests to sit at the curved side of the table so that they can see the splendid water view; the hosts sit on the opposite side, facing their guests. A curved stair leads to the upper floor lounge, study and master bedroom suite. Within the straight outline plan, flowing curves enrich the open interior. Only the artworks (by Albers, Stella, Lichtenstein, Mais, Perry and Noland) are colourful in contrast to the neutral grey, white and black interior.
“It was this legendary, cool house where people were going to parties and falling in the pool and that sort of thing,” says Gary about the 1960 residence, which was recently nominated by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation as a Class 1 Historic Site.
Seeing the property was on the market again, the couple called their real estate agent, who was also curious to see it. After only a 40-minute tour, Joan and Gary — who collaborate as professional musicians and avid collectors of midcentury design — knew they had to buy it.
Befitting a home of creatives, the Gand residence hardly seems to stand still. Dynamic changes and transitions occur at every turn; walls shift in angle and the ceiling slopes dramatically. The centerpiece, a sunken living room with the walls arranged in part of a hexagon, wraps around the swimming pool.
“The geometry is like a crazy quilt,” Gary says admiringly. “At times, you’re not quite sure where you are. It’s like those fun houses you went into when you were a kid.” Indeed, after a few drinks, it would be hard not to fall in the pool.
Soon after purchasing the fifteen acre property on which Heide stands in 1934, founders John and Sunday Reed opened their home to like-minded individuals such as artists Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, John Perceval and Danila Vassilieff. They nurtured a circle of artists, writers and intellectuals who contributed to Heide becoming a place for the discussion, creation and promotion of modern art and literature.
John and Sunday made a lasting contribution to Australian culture through their support of creative endeavours in the visual arts, literature and architecture. In the mid-1950s the Reeds established the Gallery of Contemporary Art and in 1958, with the assistance of friend and entrepreneur Georges Mora, they re-launched the gallery as the Museum of Modern Art of Australia. This eventually led to the formal establishment of the museum.
Amassing an outstanding collection of the contemporary art of their time, the Reeds outgrew their original farmhouse, now known as Heide I, and in 1964 commissioned the construction of a ‘gallery to be lived in’ from David McGlashan. This modernist architectural icon eventually opened as a public art museum in November 1981 following its purchase by the State Government on behalf of the people of Victoria. Although the Reeds lived to see their vision fulfilled of Heide as a public museum, they both died shortly afterwards in December 1981, ten days apart. They are remembered as champions of modern art and literature and remain two of Australia's most important art benefactors.
This show will be performed underground in the former water storage facilities last used in 1962.
This show is part of Brisbane Open House 2015.