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Glasshouse: Arts, Conference and Entertainment Centre

Exterior revealing timber interior. Exterior revealing timber interior. Brett Boardman

Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

NSW & ACT Entries 2010


Winner of The Interior Fitout - Commercial Award, 2010

Winner of The Australian Certified Timber Award, 2010



The decision to line the Glasshouse’s interior in timber came from a desire to use materials representative of the Hastings Region. The local timber industry could offer high quality timber in abundance. This, coupled with the tantalising fact that timber for the Sydney Opera house came from the Hastings region, was the springboard to use this material.

A workshop was instigated with an array of people from all corners of the Hastings timber industry. At first they were curious: their opinions had never been sought by building designers before. Once they understood our aims, they provided us with a wealth of local timber information – sustainability, durability, sourcing and availability.

A sense of public ownership is fundamental to the long-term success of large community projects such as the Glasshouse. One timber supplier could see the strategic commercial benefit for their business to the point where they did an extraordinary thing, donating all of the timber flooring for the Upper Level Foyer and Gallery.

The donated ‘Mill Finished’ floor comprises five locally sourced Australian hardwood species – Spotted-Gum, Black-Butt, Brush-Box, Red and Grey Iron-Bark. This aesthetic increases the amount of the tree that can be used, and evokes the stresses of the original forest. The foyer floor includes a series of Spotted-Gum timber grills, bringing outside air into the foyer.

The Foyer Panels to the exterior of the Theatre have been likened to a musical instrument, crafted in Spotted-Gum veneered plywood panels with expressed edge strips. The Gallery exterior is clad in matching timber panels but laid flat and visible from the rear, taking advantage of timber’s natural warmth. Circles are cut out to offer views through, creating a permeable timber screen.

The Studio Theatre is a well-used, workaday room for dance, with a sprung timber floor. Wall panels line one wall for acoustic attenuation and visual warmth.

In the 600-seat Auditorium the multivalent qualities of timber, acoustic and aesthetic, are fully exploited. An intimate quality is generated by the scale and colour of the Spotted-Gum veneered timber panels that have been acoustically designed with varying timber substrates, to provide a range for the reflection, dispersion and absorption of sound. Known as “the twisters”, the rear panels reflect sound in a scatter pattern. As a collective, they embrace the audience, forming sculptural cliffs in the subdued lighting, warm, glowing and mystical.
Entered into:
  • Best Use Of Australian Certified Timber, 2010
  • Best Use Of Timber Panels, 2010
  • Best Use Of Timber Flooring, 2010
  • Interior Fitout – Commercial (e.g. offices, shops, building foyers, etc), 2010
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