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Architectural/Interior Decoration and Fittings > Architectural models

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99/34/2 Architectural model, Douglas Murcutt House, plastic / foil / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia, 1969-72
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Object statement
Architectural model, Douglas Murcutt House, plastic / foil / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia, 1969-72
The Douglas Murcutt house was one of the first houses designed by Glenn Murcutt after establishing his own practice in 1969: 'Because I had little work, my brother asked me to design his house instead of buying a project home, and then Laurie Short came and I did his house and both buildings won awards. And then Marie Short came to me for the Crescent Head House, then a whole series of things started to happen...'[Marcus Trimble, 'Glenn Murcutt', Architecture Australia, January 2012].

These early houses established Murcutt's signature approach to domestic architecture. Like most of the thirty or so houses he has designed, they consist of a minimalist pavilion, recalling Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson's Glass House. Murcutt's adaptation of these Modernist archetypes showed the potential of a house reduced to two horizontal planes of floor and roof plus an expressed but vestigial frame. The minimalist pavilion increased potential relationships to site, views, light and climate, and Murcutt experimented constantly with these relationships. Effectively each Murcutt house is tuned to its location. The details of these houses vary considerably and usually include off-the-shelf manufactured components and materials. Adjustable louvres, sliding screens and multiple, adjustable building skins are frequent solutions for insulation, privacy and ventilation.

In the case the interest lies partly in Murcutt's accommodation of an open pavillion to the constraints of a suburban site via the perimeter walls which create privacy as well as defining the house's garden setting.


Charles Pickett, Curator Design and built environment.
Designed by Glenn Murcutt

Made by Hugh Williams, architect

Date provided by Glenn Murcutt

Glenn Murcutt (b.1936) was born in London but spent his young childhood in the Morobe district of New Guinea where his father managed a gold mine. His father Arthur Murcutt introduced him to the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the philosophies of Henry David Thoreau, both of which influenced his architectural ideas. From 1956 Murcutt studied architecture at the University of New South Wales and worked with several architects including Neville Gruzman. After graduating in 1961 Murcutt travelled for two years, returning in 1964 to work in the office of Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley.

In 1969 Murcutt established his own practice at Mosman, Sydney. Initially he struggled to find work, producing just three houses during the 1970s as well as numerous renovations and extensions. One of these was the Berowra Waters Inn where from 1976 Murcutt redesigned a 1930s teahouse for young chefs Tony and Gay Bilson; the result was a standout marriage of design and culinary art that confirmed the talents of Murcutt and the Bilsons.

This exploratory phase saw Murcutt establish a mastery of the Miesian style. His prolific second phase was more regional in nature. Using a mixture of pragmatism and lyricism, Murcutt creates simple houses that resemble open verandas. He is admired locally and internationally for creating an identifiably Australian idiom in domestic architecture. In addition Murcutt's domestic focus and small practice contrasts with the corporate character of contemporary architecture although it also restricts the scope and impact of his work. Regardless, Murcutt and his numerous admirers are content with his embodiment of the architect as craftsman and visionary.

Glenn Murcutt's work has won several Australian awards as well as the Alvar Alto Medal (1992) and the Pritzker Prize (2002).

Charles Pickett, Curator Design and built environment.
The Douglas Murcutt house was built at Belrose, Sydney.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Architectural model, Douglas Murcutt House, plastic / foil / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Sydney, 1969-72.
A wedge-shaped base in white plastic, on which is situated an L-shaped pavilion structure in white plastic. The structure has a flat roof covered in foil.

Designed: Murcutt, Glenn Marcus; Australia

Made: Williams, Hugh; Australia; 1972
99/34/2
Height
35 mm
Width
250 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Glenn Murcutt under the Tax Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1999
Subjects
+ Architecture
+ Australian design
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/166823
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/166823 |title=99/34/2 Architectural model, Douglas Murcutt House, plastic / foil / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia, 1969-72 |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=2 August 2015 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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