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 105leading Sydney architect during the 1980s: When I was a student, I used to steal in there and just sit very quietly watching the builders on site. In its carcass, it was quite a wonderful building of that time. By now, Snelling was accomplished at the principal design themes of his architectural career. Drawing from the writings and works of Wright and Richard Neutra—but with his own critical judgement about which ideas to copy and which to ignore—he developed a pragmatic, elegant, comfortable and natural architectural style that was well suited to Australia’s post–war spirit. In the early years of the baby boom, following the 1930s Depression and Second World War, many people were optimistic, wanting to own new homes to contain happy families in the suburbs. Like all disciples of Wright—but unlike followers of pre–war European modernists then developing the International Style— Snelling’s main intention was to seamlessly integrate interiors, exteriors and landscapes as harmonious visual compositions offering convenience for occupants and delightful atmospherics for visitors. In general, he used natural materials (mainly sandstone, brick and cedar) both inside and outside—with the two realms transparently separated by large sheets of glass that could slide away. His roofs were almost always flat. (The black bitumen waterproofing systems then used by modernist architects usually needed replacement every 10 or 12 years—and some later owners of Snelling houses have remodelled their roofs to incorporate pitches that would improve performance by allowing water to fall away.) His preferred themes for gardens were either tropical Pacific or Japanese (the former included flowering shrubs, palms and trios of carved totems from the New Hebrides; the latter incorporated ponds embellished with large ornamental rocks). In several key houses, he designed outdoor ponds that flowed into living rooms, with the window glazing fixed at water level so koi carp (his preferred species of fish) could swim between indoors and outdoors. Snelling was skilful with theatrical lighting effects; winning several industry awards for both internal and external illumination strategies. Another frequent strategy was to install outdoor staircases composed only of ‘floating’ masonry treads; these were cantilevered from one neighbouring wall and not accompanied by handrails. Internally, his living rooms usually were oriented towards substantial stone fireplaces distinguished by stone lintels that extended the full width of the chimneys (the Kelly House 1 is an and its NSW Sulman Award honoured only the ‘building of the year’. So it was an uncommon honour for Snelling to win the Architecture and Arts House of the Year Award 1955—bestowed in February 1956 on the first residence he designed for Sir Theo and Nancy Kelly, at 24a Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill. That year, the Kelly residence also was included in a survey exhibition of Australian architecture, displayed at the University of Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Olympics Arts Festival. The exhibition of 256 historical and contemporary works was organised by the Olympic Civic Committee of the Melbourne City Council. Built of sandstone, timber and glass on a sloping property subdivided from a Victorian estate, the Kelly House 1 is first seen from a cul–de–sac road below the site, with the driveway rising to a two–storey facade of terraces and projecting flat roofs. The house was constructed on earth piled up to heighten the drama of visitors ascending from the street to its entrance. It is set back from its front boundary to allow a grassed terrace off the living rooms. This terrace, and an adjacent lawn tennis court, are held by prominent retaining walls of sandstone boulders. n a U–shaped plan wrapping two sides of a pool court, public rooms are placed in the two–storey front section (with windows facing north, east and south), while five bedrooms and three bathrooms are to the west, opening to small garden patios. The west wing is accessed via a corridor incorporating shallow stairs (reminiscent of Tuscan hill towns), lined on one side with windows facing east to the pool and tennis court. Staff quarters (never built) were to be aligned along part of the back (south) boundary. All rooms opened directly outdoors. Sir Theo and Nancy Kelly are now dead but their children, Ian and Penny Kelly, remember the house being built. Said Penny: I would have been nine when we moved in. I remember thinking it was so different to everything else Australia had ever seen. It was a modern house. He really blazed the trail. My Dad had a lot of frustration, initially, in reading the plans and understanding what would be built there. But my mother was an incredible lady for interior design and she kept telling him, ‘it will be alright, Theo.’ She chose Snelling—she met him through his first wife, Nancy—and they got along very well, exchanging similar ideas. He used to come to the house a lot and became a real friend of the family. I thought he was the most gorgeous man God ever put breath into. Other architects also were following construction of the Kelly residence with interest. Recalls Richard Leplastrier, who became a DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 58 59 1955–1966 1940–1955