Thursday 17th March


Gabriel Poole

Gabriel Poole and his wife and partner Elizabeth Frith. (Image taken from Walker, 1998)

Western Elevation (Image taken from Martin, 2000)

Eastern Elevation (Image taken from Martin, 2000)

Floor Plan (Image taken from Martin, 2000)

Gabriel Poole is a well known Sunshine Coast Architect who is most known for his remarkable ‘tent’ like houes. The exemplar house which I have chosen of Poole’s is the Lake Weybe House. It is an impoved and more refined version of his Tent House in Eumundi. It incorporates light-weight materials and modular stlye living.  In this post I am going to include research on Poole, as well as comment on three central ideas: a house as an environmental filter, a container for human activity and a delightful experience. Gabreil Poole’s Lake Weybe House reflects aspects of all three ideas.

An Environmental Filter:

Gabriel Poole is adamant about his designs being sustainable, and working with the environment. His current residence, The Lake Weyba House, responds to the environment very strategically including opening up to the sun and breezes with roller shutters, sliding screens and hinged plywood fins. (Exemplar Houses pg 234) These thoughtful uses of shelter all filter the environment surrounding the house. With the design of the ‘Fly Roof’, Gabriel Poole has managed to incorporate a sturdy, storm resistant structure with the airy feel of the inside roof.  I would like my buildings to be sustainable and ‘eco friendly’ with the hope that we can place people carefully within out landscape to avoid the destruction and havoc which accompanies large-scale housing developments. (Hyatt, 2000)


Objectives of Gabriel Poole’s Designs:

  • Air flow and ventilation systems
  • Site aspect to suit the climatic and environmental conditions
  • Provision of natural light and shade 


Gabriel Poole leans strongly toward innovation in his architecture and implementation of lightweight building systems that preserve site terrain. Design for climate without the need to resort to air-conditioning is inherent in all our work. (Poole n.d)


Note Gabriel Poole’s ‘fly’ roof system for ventilation and light penetration. (Image taken from Walker, 1998)

A Delightful Experience:

Gabriel Poole generates a delightful experience in his designs through the provision of natural night and shade. Upon designing the Lake Weyba House, Elizabeth’s observation was was that the land was not large enough for real privacy and that eventually the beautiful views we presently enjoyed over the wallum would be built out and lost. She suggested that the only view that could not be destroyed would be of the sky. (Hyatt 2000) Elizabeth Poole requested that her husband design a building with a view of the sky in every room. Gabriel Poole achieved this wonderful feat so that even from the toilet the views of the sky can be enjoyed.


The Universal House – a movement: to deliver fully universal, wheel friendly, flexible functional homes

The needs of indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, and the mentally ill, spurred our collaboration to develop universally designed, modular and flexible housing solutions the result: the universal house

  • Low load on water, energy,
  • Resources water wise,
  • Ecological,
  • Factory built 
  • Affordable,
  • Transportable dwelling units delivered to site on a low loader low maintenance fit out, furnishings and features height adjustable features and fittings low effort for everyday tasks.

  The more I listened and learnt the more I felt this whole process is about “movement”:
…making it easy for everyone to move around -in the home, next door,
  down the street, within the community or country as life changes
  (often dramatically and without warning)
…moving people out of hospitals and freeing up beds so others can
  move in as early as possible
…people with disabilities being able to move around in general
…living much simpler, easier lives

Gabriel Poole


Filtering light. (Image taken from Hyatt, 2000)

A Container for Human Activities:

Gabriel Poole has developed a conventional design which is a container for very specific human activities. He has diversified his design to include a wider variety of movement needs and requirements in an affordable and light weight design. He also incorporates modular structuring into his designs to separate certain human activities from others. In the example of The Lake Weyba House, when Gabriel decided he would like to have an office in the building, Lizzie requested that the bedroom be separated from the main house and suggested a variation from swimming pool to large bath. (Hyatt 2000)This is a perfect example of Gabriel Poole designing a building to hold specific human activities.


Some aspects of Gabriel Poole’s designs include  

  • Accessible
  •  Affordable
  • Workable
  •  Flexible
  •  Manageable
  •  Modular
  •  Securable
  •  Sustainable
  •  Liveable
  •  Comfortable
  •  Adjustable
  •  Adaptable
  •  Relocatable
  •  Moveable
  •  Valuable


“These houses are truly universal. They would provide excellent accommodation for all and any Australian and have been designed and thought through with that foremost in our minds. For my part, I would dearly love to build the first one on my own land to personally inhabit.” (Poole, 1998)


Gabriel Poole (Image taken from Poole, 2004)



Hyatt, P. 2000, Local Heroes – Architects of Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Thames and Hudson, Singapore.

Martin, C. 2000, Australian Architecture Now. Thames and Hudson, London.

Poole, G. n.d. Gabriel and Elizabeth Poole Design Company, (accessed 14th March 2010)

Poole, G. n.d. Gabriel and Elizabeth Poole Design Company, 12th March 2010)

Walker, B. 1998, Gabriel Poole – Space in which a soul can play, Visionary Press, Noosa.


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