Architectural model of Daphne Murcutt’s house

Made by Williams, Hugh in Australia, Oceania, 1969-1972.

These early houses established Murcutt’s signature approach to domestic architecture. Like most of the thirty or so houses he has designed, they consist of a minimalist pavilion, recalling Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Murcutt’s adaptation of these Modernist archetypes showed the potential of a house reduced to two horizontal planes of floor and roof plus an expressed but vestigial frame. The minimalist pavilion increased potential relationships to site, ...


Object No.


Physical Description

Architectural model, Daphne Murcutt House, cork / plastic / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1969-1972

Architectural model of a house designed for Glenn Murcutt's mother but not built. Model is made of plastic and metal trimmings and mounted on a cork board. The house is white and rectangular in shape with a flat roof. Clear plastic windows run around three sides of the house and show a curved black painted partition and mirror inside. The house is supported by eight vertical posts, which elevates it above the ground. The cork mount is sloping and shows the contours of the landscape. One section of the cork has broken and accompanies the object in an airtight bag.


Underneath the cork mount is 'back' written twice and 'bottom face.' in black ink.



120 mm


300 mm


390 mm



The Daphne Murcutt house was designed by Glenn Murcutt for a site at Seaforth, Sydney. The model was made by Hugh Williams. The design was not built.

Glenn Murcutt (b.1936) was born in London but spent his young childhood in the Morobe district of New Guinea where his father managed a gold mine. His father Arthur Murcutt introduced Glenn to the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and to carpentry and building while building houses for his family and others on Sydney's northern beaches during the 1940s . From 1956 Murcutt studied architecture at the University of New South Wales and worked with several architects including Neville Gruzman. After graduating in 1961 Murcutt travelled for two years, returning in 1964 to work in the office of Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley.

In 1969 Murcutt established his own practice at Mosman, Sydney. Initially he struggled to find work, producing just three houses during the 1970s as well as numerous renovations and extensions. One of these was the Berowra Waters Inn where from 1976 Murcutt redesigned a 1930s teahouse for young chefs Tony and Gay Bilson; the result was a standout marriage of design and culinary art that proclaimed the talents of Murcutt and the Bilsons.

This exploratory phase saw Murcutt establish a mastery of the Miesian style. His prolific second phase was more regional in nature. Using a mixture of pragmatism and lyricism, Murcutt creates simple houses that resemble open verandas. He is admired locally and internationally for creating an identifiably Australian idiom in domestic architecture. In addition Murcutt's domestic focus and small practice contrasts with the corporate character of contemporary architecture although it also restricts the scope and impact of his work. Regardless, Murcutt and his numerous admirers are content with his embodiment of the architect as craftsman and visionary.

Glenn Murcutt's work has won several Australian awards as well as the Alvar Alto Medal (1992) and the Pritzker Prize (2002).

Charles Pickett, Curator Design and built environment.


Williams, Hugh 1969-1972



Glenn Murcutt designed several versions of a house for his mother Daphne Murcutt intended for a site at Seaforth. NSW. The house was not built.


Murcutt, Daphne


Credit Line

Gift of Glenn Murcutt under the Tax Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1999

Acquisition Date

27 April 1999

Cite this Object


Architectural model of Daphne Murcutt's house 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 April 2018, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Architectural model of Daphne Murcutt's house |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 April 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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