Architecture

Extraordinary Australian "bubble house" hits the market

Extraordinary Australian "bubb...
Eleven interconnecting domes
Eleven interconnecting domes make up this unique house
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The Bubble House's iris windows do give a bit of an eyeball effect
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The Bubble House's iris windows do give a bit of an eyeball effect
Eleven interconnecting domes
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Eleven interconnecting domes make up this unique house
A truly unique floor plan
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A truly unique floor plan
The property backs onto bushland and a river not far from Ipswich, Queensland
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The property backs onto bushland and a river not far from Ipswich, Queensland
The front gate gives you your first sense that things are about to get interesting
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The front gate gives you your first sense that things are about to get interesting
Rear entertainment terrace
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Rear entertainment terrace
Circular spa in the bathroom
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Circular spa in the bathroom
Birchall's home office
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Birchall's home office
Air conditioned bar
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Air conditioned bar
Curves are everywhere
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Curves are everywhere
The kitchen has its own 5-meter dome and was built by a boat builder/carpenter familiar with curves
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The kitchen has its own 5-meter dome and was built by a boat builder/carpenter familiar with curves
Upstairs living room
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Upstairs living room
Heater flue comes up through to the second story
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Heater flue comes up through to the second story
Neat little display cabinets built into the walls
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Neat little display cabinets built into the walls
A very spacious home
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A very spacious home
Gotta love that library
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Gotta love that library
Some fun lighting in the TV room
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Some fun lighting in the TV room
Double-storey heater is another custom build
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Double-storey heater is another custom build
A quirky dining room
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A quirky dining room
Water cooling fountains are another unique feature
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Water cooling fountains are another unique feature
Aussie bush backyard backs onto a river
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Aussie bush backyard backs onto a river
Colorful gardens around the house
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Colorful gardens around the house
Graham Birchall's extraordinary "bubble house" is up for sale
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Graham Birchall's extraordinary "bubble house" is up for sale
View gallery - 23 images

A truly unique piece of Australian real estate is up for grabs. Architect Graham Birchall's personal home, based around a series of 11 intersecting bubble domes, has gone up for sale in Ipswich, Queensland.

Birchall built the home in the 1980s as a study of the adaptable nature of spheres. The domes range in diameter from 4 to 8 meters (13.1 to 26.2 ft), and give the whole building a unique look. Some of the bubbles look distinctly like eyeballs, and that's because of the remote-controlled iris-like window shades; to help build these windows Birchall actually emailed NASA to ask for some design drawings of the Mars Rover, which they supplied.

Water cooling fountains are another unique feature
Water cooling fountains are another unique feature

Functionally, it looks like a perfectly normal, if very beautiful, home, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a four-car garage. There are balconies and several terraces, a glassed-in entry tunnel, curving staircases, a gorgeous library, and colorful gardens. The circular kitchen was crafted by a boat builder/carpenter to fit the space, and the upstairs office looks pretty incredible too.

Double-storey heater is another custom build
Double-storey heater is another custom build

A timber heater in the large downstairs family room heats both the upper and lower floors, with a long flue that extends right up through a big hole in between storys. Another multi-story feature is the internal water-cooling fountain, and some of the ceilings are as much as 5 m (16.4 ft) high.

Rear entertainment terrace
Rear entertainment terrace

Property values tend to hover around a million Australian dollars (~US$716,500) in the area, but none of them look remotely like this thing, so we'll be interested to see how much it ends up going for. An absolute labor of love and a remarkable creation; we certainly wonder what Birchall's building next. Check out a heap of photos in the gallery, and a short video below.

79 Elanora Way, Karalee

Source: First National Real Estate

View gallery - 23 images
9 comments
buzzclick
Makes me wonder why he didn't build closer to the river and further from the neighbors. Whoever buys the property and moves in will be asking themselves sooner than later: What were we thinking? Unless of course they are just as quirky as Mr. Birchall.
Nelson Hyde Chick
An architect's wet dream.
Signguy
I see many many leaks; and what do the neighbors say?
RoGuE_StreaK
@buzzclick, there's the slight issue they forgot to mention where the Bremer River FLOODS, and in both 1974 and 2011 at least half of that property was flooded!
Nobody
I learned something years ago that most people don't consider. Unusual architecture can be very disorienting. I was supposed to house sit in a home that had sloping walls. After a week, I was so ill and disoriented that I had to move out. The people that lived there had no problem but it gave me continuous motion sickness and vertigo.
Ray6969
Well, Tucker thought he built a great car at the time as well. It may suit the taste of the builder but very few others will see it the same way. A friend of mine built a 4 dome house in Colorado and after about five years he wanted to sell it. It was on the market for over 2 years before it sold at about 3/4 of what he wanted for it. Architects often forget they they are not artists and art for an artist normally does sale well until after they die.
JSimon
If, i would buy such a house, it should be covered with some running plant and trees around. such a design may look good in a desert, not among trees. Or dig a big hole and put it underground.
JSimon
Inspired by termites?
Techrex
Well, Mr. RoGue_Streak, if this Bremer river floods the area, could these bubble homes be modified to FLOAT? Something like this housing design, perhaps made out of multiple layers of woven Bamboo filament mesh, that is also layered with recycled plastic trash that is melted by a hot air gun to make a very strong house structuring, that is also a big round bubble, might be a cost-effective housing for the world's poorest people, whose coastal habitat is threatened by rising sea levels, caused by global warming, that could simply float above the water when that happens. Also, if the houses are big round orbs, if you have to move them to higher ground, you could detach their from their anchors, and ROLL them where you have to move! Also, Mr. Nobody, if a round spherical room interior can prove to be very disorientating to many people, giving them motion sickness and vertigo, what if we PAINTED the orb's interior walls with dark lines, to make a visual trick or effect, that makes it LOOK like a squared off room with dark lines indicating a normal perspective? Something like that might actually be necessary, inside of future spherical deep undersea habitats or outer space habitats, which would OFTEN be spheres, big hollow bubbles, for the structure strength and a minimum of construction materials needed to make them, that such habitats would be.