This thesis is a detailed study of the C House, designed by Donovan Hill Architects. The study examines the project from its initial stages in 1991, through to the practical completion of the building some eight years later.
The engagement of the architects saw the collaboration of Brian Donovan and Timothy Hill, both graduates of the University of Queensland. During the project's early stages Donovan Hill Architects was formed, establishing what was to become one of the most significant and widely published young architectural practices in Brisbane.
As their initial commission the C House is significant for both its conceptual design philosophy and the extraordinary level of workmanship of the builders. The thesis investigates the design ideas of the architects through a detailed study of the concrete construction and the subsequent carpentry, joinery and finishing trades.
The study contends that the C House has been constructed as an idealised landscape. Concrete has been utilised to establish an imaginary terrain across the entire site. Subsequent finishing trades enable the occupation of the idealised landscape through emplacement. The thesis contends that throughout the various stages of construction, the details play a major role in supporting the primary architectural intention to create an idealised landscape for occupation, and that the removal of elements associated with typical housing construction is a tactic used throughout the building to reinforce the landscape metaphor.
The study involved interviews with the proprietor, the carpenter and the joiner, which have been included in the appendix. These interviews provide valuable background information, and offer an insight into the aspirations, skill and commitment of those involved with the project. The study contains many architectural drawings which have been included to describe particular aspects and details of the work. Extensive slide images of the building have been taken throughout the construction period, and have been reproduced here with the consent of the copyright holders.
One of the benefits of undertaking an undergraduate thesis is the opportunity to contribute to a growing resource of information on important or influential Queensland architects or architectural practices. Having worked for Donovan Hill personally on the C House from the end of 1994 for close to four years, my experience in the post concrete construction stage of the building allowed a more detailed understanding of the design and construction issues which shaped the building. The processes and working relationships have been viewed from personal experience, and have been documented here for historical reference.