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 105A key originator of the Sydney School of mid 20th century organic modernist architecture has been overlooked in most explanations of the post–World War II origins of the movement. In this thesis, the life and oeuvre of architect–designer Douglas Snelling are explored to illuminate how novel Californian modernist design concepts came to Australia in the late 1940s and early 1950s—often only a few years after the American originals were developed. Some historians argue that the Sydney School began in 1960 with inauguration of the Architectural Society, whose members reacted against modernism’s ‘machine–age’ International Style by building in Scandinavia–inspired styles with rustic bricks and timber and raked rather than flat roofs. However, the origins of organic modernism in Sydney go back further than even the city’s three best–known 1950s disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright: Peter Muller, Neville Gruzman and Bruce Rickard (who frequently have been named as pioneers of the Sydney School). More than a decade after the departure from Australia in 1935 of Wright’s famous early 20th century pupils Walter and Marion Griffin (who reinterpreted his early Arts and Crafts themes in Canberra, NSW and Victoria), Douglas Snelling began to translate and update the maestro’s original modernist concepts for his prairie houses of 1906–1909. For several years before 1951, when Muller arrived in Sydney from his post–graduate studies in the United States—Snelling and Harry Seidler were the city’s two most talented young US–experienced designers of houses that represented opposite sides of the great mid–century ‘battle of the styles’ between Wright’s organic principles (interpreted by Snelling from west coast American exemplars) and the more mechanistic and sterile principles of Marcel Breuer and other east coast US practitioners of the international style (referenced by Seidler). Gradually through the 1950s, these and other architects began to blend key concepts from the two supposedly irreconcilable ideologies. What were Snelling’s specific points of significance to the history of Australian architecture and design? From scattered media references since his death in 1985, it is clear that the Australian design community’s perceptions of his legacy have been focused on three eastern Sydney houses listed in a Sydney architecture guidebook,his early north shore house, following award–winning, mid–1990s renovations by Alexander Tzannes and the widely collected ‘Snelling Line’ range of affordable modern seating, first marketed across Australia from 1946 to 1955. However, academic, state, council, overseas and Snelling family archives reveal that the oeuvre of this self–taught, multi–disciplinary designer includes more than 70 buildings and interiors, mainly in Sydney (but including designs for Los Angeles, Noumea, Vila and Fiji’s west coast), which are notable contributions to the pan–Pacific history of mid 20th century modernism. To discover Snelling’s extensive oeuvre, as well as his colourful life and career, it has been necessary to study institutional and family archives, interview more than 50 associates and family members, visit his surviving projects in Sydney and Noumea, and investigate the main places where he lived and worked (the DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 6 7