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 105the blandness that descended on modern architecture in the years before and after Wright’s death in 1959. But in Sydney at that time, Scandinavian/Smithson tactics were being interpreted by emerging architects like John Allen and Russell Jack (including a house they designed in Sheldon Place, several doors down from Snelling’s own house on the corner of Kambala Road). Although Snelling did not enter RAIA architecture awards, awards were being bestowed for works comparable to the Assef house. Another important Wrightian during the 1950s, Peter Muller, said: I didn’t know him very well. He lived in Sydney and I lived at Palm Beach. We never crossed paths very much. I only knew of one house he did—I’ve never been inside it. There are architects, like myself and probably him, who led a very quiet and detached life and we didn’t mix very much with other architects. I didn’t attempt any kind of publication or publicity—about 30 of my houses have never been published—and I didn’t enter architecture awards. I always felt it would be better to get work that people found by seeing a house that I’d done. When I got a client, it was through their appreciation of my work. Muller’s career and ouevre, including five and six–star Asian resorts in the 1970s and early 1980s, has eclipsed Snelling’s in history. But when he arrived in Sydney in 1952, from a masters degree in the United States and a provincial upbringing in Adelaide, he could not have overlooked Douglas Snelling and Harry Seidler: the two other notable youngsters with American experience, already building some of Sydney’s most architecturally advanced houses. Throughout the 1950s, Muller, Snelling and Seidler were rivals for publicity in the nation’s most progressive magazine, Architecture and Arts. Its Melbourne–based editor, Kenneth McDonald, favoured all three architects with awards and generous page allocations. not very friendly type of person. But he and I got on quite well together. We never had any aggro words. I don’t know if he treated me any differently because I was a cousin of Patricia’s. There were mixed feelings among contemporary Sydney architects. After gaining his membership of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1953, he rarely socialised with other members, or attended many Institute events, although he must have been aware of the profession’s leaders and best works through magazines. John Hunt noticed that his employer ‘wasn’t enthusiastic’ about the RAIA and believed that ‘they were a bit elitist’ about his position as a practitioner without formal training. Today, most of his elderly peers are struggling with their memories of him 30 to 50 years ago. But fellow Wright disciple the late Neville Gruzman retained these perceptions: He was rather an elegant, remote sort of person, to the extent that he didn’t have a deep interest in the culture of architecture. I must confess that I wondered, without being serious about it, whether he was really an architect or just called himself an architect. I only had a fairly superficial idea of him. I’ve only really wanted to be involved with really dedicated architects who think deeply about building—and I never put Doug Snelling in that category. Many people thought that he was a decorator because he seemed more interested in that side of things ... designing furniture seemed much more like his persona. I used to get him confused with another Sydney designer, Doug Annand—but that’s my fault, not theirs. The house I saw at Bellevue Hill in the 1960s ... it wasn’t architecture. It had this creek, filling about a third of the floor space of the living room, with golden fish swimming through it, leaving not much space for sitting, in my mind’s eye. I wrote it off mentally as being superficial interior design. I think I only saw that one house of his, attending a party there. The Snelling house which best matches Gruzman’s description is the Assef residence at 20 Bulkara Road, Bellevue Hill. Decorated with bright soft furnishings specified by Woollahra design leader Marion Hall Best, it has an indoor–outdoor koi carp pond of organic shape, intruding about one metre into the living area. The Assef house is a good example of Snelling’s late 1950s–early 1960s Functionalist phase of residential architecture. Responding to new Scandinavian aesthetics, he stripped these houses to plain surfaces: exposing smooth, pale bricks inside and out, and abandoning Wright–inspired sandstone fireplaces. Gruzman, a Wrightian romantic in his designs for houses (more high–tech with his apartment buildings), did not admire DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 74 75 1955–1966 1940–1955