A Stacked Concrete House

The Glebe House, by Nobbs Radford Architects has a kid’s building block quality to it – with a playful stacking and almost ‘hovering’ feel, between the distinct spaces. No mean feat for a home built of concrete, to give the illusion of a weightless assemblage.

Principle architect Sean Radford walks us through this detailed home, and explains how they balanced the monolithic material with a lightness of form.

Miriam McGarry

The Glebe House by Nobbs Radford Architects. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

A home that looks inwards, with carefully framed views. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

Strong linear and vertical lines enhances the capsuled box quality of the design. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

Even the staircase incorporates a diagonal building block vibe! Photo – Murray Fredericks.

The sleek kitchen of The Glebe House. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

Detail of the sculptural staircase. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

The box-like forms mean lots of cubby spaces. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

The upper level of the Glebe House. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

Bathroom details in the Glebe House. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

A building block house, balancing concrete and lightness. Photo – Murray Fredericks.

Miriam McGarry
25th of February 2019

The Glebe House by Nobbs Radford Architects is a house of many parts. Sean Radford explains ‘conceptually the house was conceived of as a series of stacked forms, however, we sought to create a fine connection between the forms – creating an illusion of lightness and fragility, whilst using a monolithic material.’ Through their innovative design, the architects have transformed concrete into a material with multiple identities.

Sean describes how the design of the home focuses inwards, through the ‘interconnections of cloistered spaces.’ The stacking form strategically creates and selects framed openings, that link to the outside, but the focus on the house is directed inwards. He explains how the placement of the rear façade creates a sense of enclosure, while the central internal void provides an in-between site of connection.

The layout of the property was also directed by the client, who, with a young family, wanted a home that would have the flexibility to accommodate shifting dynamics as the kids grew older. The upper level encourages a sense of privacy and seclusion, in this house of many nooks.

Strong vertical and horizontal lines are integrated throughout the house, in the timber detailing of the kitchen, bathroom cabinetry, and lean staircase. The push-and-pull dynamic between illuminated voids and solid concrete offers both cosy containment and moments of spilling natural light. Sean highlights that the design was influenced by Brutalist forms, and concrete designs from Japan and Europe.

The design for this house initiated as a quick flourishing sketch – but the built outcome is finely detailed and incredibly rigorous. The result is a home which balances the most robust of building materials, with a distinctly light touch. No big bad wolf could huff and puff this bold property down!

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