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99/34/4 Architectural model, Laurie Short House, plastic / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia, 1972-73. Click to enlarge.

Architectural model, Laurie Short House, designed by Glenn Murcutt, 1972-73

Designed by Murcutt, Glenn Marcus in Australia, Oceania
The Laurie Short house is one of the first houses designed by Glenn Murcutt after establishing his own practice: 'Because I had little work, my brother asked me to design his house instead of buying a project home, and then Laurie Short came and I did his house and both buildings won awards. And then Marie Short came to me for the Crescent Head House, then a whole series of things started to happen...'[Marcus Trimble, 'Glenn Murcutt', Architecture Australia, January 2012].

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, views, light and climate, and Murcutt experimented constantly with these relationships. Effectively each Murcutt house is tuned to its location. The details of these houses vary considerably and usually include off-the-shelf manufactured components and materials. Adjustable louvres, sliding screens and multiple, adjustable building skins are frequent solutions for insulation, privacy and ventilation.

In this case a feature of the house is an external steel frame, a response to house's siting in an area vulnerable to bushfires. As well as its steel and glass envelope, the house is situated on a brick field while a roof top pool provides both insulation and fire protection. The black frame creates a vivid contrast with the white, glazed interior.

Charles Pickett, Curator Design and Built Environment.


Object No.


Object Statement

Architectural model, Laurie Short House, plastic / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia, 1972-73

Physical Description

Architectural model, Laurie Short House, plastic / metal, designed by Glenn Murcutt, Sydney, 1972-73.
The model describes a free-standing rectangular pavilion in white, black and transparent plastic with metal detailing.



62 mm


110 mm



Designed by Glenn Murcutt

Made by Hugh Williams, architect

Date provided by Glenn Murcutt

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, building houses for his family and others at 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.



Designed in 1972-73 and completed in 1974, the Laurie Short house was built at Terrey Hills, Sydney.

In 1976 this house was awarded the Wilkinson Award for residential architecture, awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects NSW chapter.

Cite this Object


Architectural model, Laurie Short House, designed by Glenn Murcutt, 1972-73 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 August 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Architectural model, Laurie Short House, designed by Glenn Murcutt, 1972-73 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=14 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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