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The next day I spent the whole day at the University and was given quite the VIP treatment. This is a wonderful university, and especially the Architectural Faculty. This Faculty is divided into five Ateliers, with the Dean of each Atelier required to practise as an Architect for 50% of his time. Each Dean is a top– ranking Architect, and some of the Deans specialise in their work. Hence, it is possible for a student to be selective as to what kind of architecture he intends to pursue, and so join the particular atelier of his choosing. The student would start off and stay with this group right through his course. I would dearly love to see such a system work in Australia. There is no mention in this or any other letter to Dudek of the architectural crisis of March 1966—when Danish architect Jørn Utzon was forced to leave Sydney after dramatic confrontations with the State Government over his management of the Opera House development. Several times, Sydney was disrupted by large street protests against Utzon’s sacking, by architects and other aesthetes who could see that Utzon was producing a great masterpiece for Australia—despite enormous delays and cost overruns. Snelling’s position in the controversy was against Utzon—he believed the Dane was unprofessional and did not have enough skills to execute his ambitious concept. In what seems to be a letter to the editor (too long to publish intact, found in the archives of his clients, Dr Abe and Olga Assef), he wrote: I am sick to the stomach of the smirks and smart quips about Architects at dinner parties and other functions. I am appalled at the loss of dignity to my Profession, brought about by a rabble–rousing, self–advertising minority. ... Many world–famous Architects who have taken time to study the Plans in detail see this building as sculpture with an Opera House stuffed inside it. As such, this puts the building in the class of theatrical trickery and nonsense. ... The so–called “shells” are not what Architects know as shells. The shell of an egg gains its structure and integrity by its complex shape and thinness. The Opera House “shells” are constructed using conventional beams and slabs and only pretend to be shells by their external appearance. ... Indeed, as well, Mr Utzon did the resigning! What pressures caused him to do this, no–one but he would know. In any event, he will have the protection of accepted architectural practice and be paid accordingly for work done— that is of course if he has not laid himself open to litigation for breach of around in his E type Jaguar during this visit—after the architect had already visited Honolulu and San Francisco. He also recalled meeting, with Snelling, Richard Neutra on one of his building sites. He photographed Snelling with Neutra and still held Snelling’s photo of himself with Neutra. Dudek, an electrical engineer, noted that Snelling seemed impressed with Neutra’s low–voltage electrical systems, and wanted to emulate his remote–controlled switching. They also caught up with two other notable architects who Snelling knew from earlier visits, John Lautner and Thornton Abell (the latter a prominent member of the Southern Californian chapter of the American Institute of Architects). They visited Lautner’s Reiner house at Silvertop (1963) to inspect the world’s first spill–edge swimming pool—a design that Snelling was already imitating (via magazine coverage) for his Kelly House 2, under construction at Vaucluse. Lautner confirmed the technicalities of how to design a holding tank to contain and recycle water overflows. By post, Snelling encouraged Dudek to maintain contact with these architects and one of his oldest American friends, Joe Allard, the international bridge lecturer. He also suggested that Dudek should employ Neutra to design a house he was planning at Mulholland Drive, Beverley Hills—but warned that ‘I can no longer recommend my friend Lautner.’ According to his late 1960s associate, Jim Whitelock, Snelling was eager for Neutra to accept him as an Australian member of his Richard J. Neutra Institute—and at Neutra’s suggestion, he had sent to the Institute’s chairman a photographic portfolio of his works and a biography. Whitelock recalls his employer being disappointed about not receiving an invitation to join ‘that very elite group’. In the same letter, dated 20 May, Snelling updated Dudek about his trip to Mexico: After I left you, had a smooth flight to Mexico City arriving about 1am and my friend, Jose Rivadeneyre, who was to meet me, had gone home long since, not knowing when I would arrive. I was then stuck with finding accommodation for the night, and went from hotel to hotel with a taxi– driver, and where do you think I finished up? At a bloody Hilton, of course. I saw Jose early in the morning, and then moved to his house. From thence on, Jose took good care of me. We saw such a lot of wonderful things, such as the Folklorico Ballet, Museum of Anthropology, where I spent a whole day; Diego Rivera’s Museum, and a day’s visit to the pyramids at San Juan Teotihuacan—on a high plateau,. 60 miles from Mexico City. We had a dinner party at Jose’s house, with the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 80 81 1966–1976 1966–1976