Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105blues music, outré clothes and a culture of cruising in convertible sports cars between fashionable coffee shops and leisure destinations. Young Los Angeles architects and designers participated in these waves of post–war energy—which included a new mood of primally sexual gesticulation (epitomised by the ‘jazz’ dancing of Negro entertainers) that frightened many older Americans. As dictated by the city’s vast area, large–grain street grid and lack of public transport, the Snellings bought a car—but could not afford two cars. Nancy said she felt isolated in the flat—‘I cried nearly every day’—while Douglas drove to his office. On weekends, they explored the city and its desert environs, often visiting houses being built by modernist architects. He was impressed by the organic, tactile and landscape–related buildings of Wright and younger disciples like Richard Neutra (whose 1946 Kaufmann house at Palm Springs inspired the cruciform floor plan of his Hay House, St Ives, 1949–51). He was not enthused by steel–framed architecture, as produced by Charles Eames and Craig Ellwood. Rather than a cool and ‘rational’ technological aesthetic, Snelling wanted to pursue a warmly humane and sensuous style of modernism. Yet he was a fan of innovative technologies and top quality manufactured products. On this trip, he discovered Thermador kitchen appliances—the world’s best stainless steel ovens, cooktops and refrigerators (later dishwashers and benchtop food processors). Because they were not available in Australia, Snelling arranged to import Thermador appliances for his clients’ kitchens, beginning with the Hay house at St Ives (1949–51). They are still installed in many of his houses. Snelling told friends that he had designed the bar of a drinking venue called the Cock ‘n’ Bull on La Cienaga Boulevard and the fascia for a hamburger restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard. However, he lost his job at Honnolds after only a few months there. Nancy said that his lack of training in architecture (he had not learned technical drafting or an architectural style of handwriting) and his ignorance of local building regulations, provoked the dismissal. When he returned to Australia, he claimed that he had been a ‘junior partner’ with Honnold. Enough money was found to take Nancy on a long road trip eastwards through the desert—highlighted by a mid–1948 visit to Wright’s settlement at Taliesin West, near Scottsdale, Arizona. Because Wright and his entourage were then at their Wisconsin compound for the northern summer, Taliesin West was ‘practically Lautner’s daring ‘spill–edge’ swimming pool at a house in the Silvertop area for Mr and Mrs Kenneth Reiner, 1963, inspired Snelling’s 1965 design for a pool accompanying his second residence for Sir Theo Kelly on a harbourside site at Vaucluse. From a letter which Snelling wrote to his post–1963 Californian friend, electrical engineer Marion Dudek, Lautner advised him on how to plan the water tanks. Still existing at Tahiti (as the second Kelly residence was named), Australia’s first spill–edge pool has already spawned three decades of similar designs, by later Sydney architects, on sites around the harbour and ocean. The point of a spill–edge pool—sometimes called an ‘infinity’ pool—is that it can give the optical effect, when observers look across it from low angles, of the pool seamlessly fusing with either the sky or a distant, lower, expanse of ocean. One of Honnold’s offices during Snelling’s stay in Los Angeles was at 9360 Santa Monica Boulevard; two doors along from Craig Ellwood Associates, a practice named after a non–existent person. That office was directed by Jonnie Burke, who changed his name to Craig Ellwood in the 1950s and became one of California’s most famous architects of that decade, despite his lack of formal architectural training. Burke had some knowledge of engineering, talent as a visual stylist, charm, the intelligence to hire talented associates, and skills to direct them to achieve a consistent quality of design, which he credited to himself. In 1947, Burke was 26 years old and Snelling was 32. The two might have seen each other in the neighbourhood and at city architectural events. If so, Snelling would have appreciated ‘Craig Ellwood’s’ social life, glamorous women and sports cars. Although he never emulated Ellwood’s architectural aesthetic of steel and glass, Snelling’s personal trajectory in Australia coincided in key respects to Ellwood’s Californian story. Both came from underprivileged backgrounds, were unusually handsome, taught themselves architecture, hovered in prosperous social circles (contradicting the communist/socialist tendencies of many 20th century modernist architects), enjoyed spending money on luxuries, tended to embellish tales of their background to enhance their prestige, and both married several wives, all with greater wealth and/ or higher social credentials than themselves. In the late 1940s, a new underground youth movement was developing in southern California, oriented around customised hot rod cars, (which would be raced on remote desert flats), rhythm and DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 44 45 1940–1955 1940–1955