• Snelling's concepts for the Bourgeois family compound (unbuilt).

Erakor Lagoon, Vila, Vanuatu, 1970 (unbuilt)

This concept, for a Port Vila (New Hebrides, now Vanuatu) site owned by French entrepreneur Pierre Bourgeois, was never built but epitomised Snelling’s late-career passion for west Pacific vernacular buildings.

The elevation and plans showed eight circular sleeping huts with dome roofs, to be built with local stone and timber shingles. Five huts were connected in a curved chain, including one self-contained suite and four smaller bedrooms sharing two bathrooms and entrance alcoves. Another hut, with a large sundeck and private garden, was allocated to the Bourgeoises parents. Further away, two guest huts, both with ensuites, shared a sundeck.

Centrally placed in this compound, the saddleback-style, shingle-roofed living pavilion featured a cruciform plan, with a large central dining table, surrounded by various living spaces, a kitchen, and bathroom. In one corner, a double carport was provided next to the formal entrance. Another family entrance was provided on the opposite corner of the house.

Books on vernacular architecture (notably by Paul Oliver) identified the saddleback style of roof as native to Batak villages around Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, and circular stone huts with thatch domes being ancient forms found in Turkey, Botswana and Kenya.


—Bourgeois, Pierre. Personal communications, 15 August 2002.

—Burnard, Joyce. 1971. ‘Architects notebook: looking to the east’, Australian Home Journal, March, pp. 20–21.

—Pemberton, Gary J. 1984. Douglas B. Snelling: A Monograph of His Works (B. Arch dissertation). Sydney: New South Wales Institute of Technology.