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People Who Live In Glass Houses Must Warn Their Guests

Herald (18.12.50)

More than 100 people yesterday inspected a new house at Turramurra which has:

  • Most of its walls made entirely of transparent plateglass.
  • A flat asbestos felt roof with an aluminium finish which deflects the sun to lower temperatures inside the house; and
  • Wire-enforced glass backing each step on the staircase leading from the front door.

The owner is Mr. Harry Seidler, a Canadian architect.

He designed the house which cost 8,000 Pounds.

Surrounded by bush, it is 50 yards off the end of Clissold Road.

Asked how glass walls were practicable with rainwater running down them from the flat roof, Mr. Seidler grinned: "That's all fixed. We have a drainage system in the middle of the roof which carries away the rainwater through the plumbing system".

For the official opening yesterday Mr. Seidler had printed postcard size maps to show guests the way to the house.

Furnishings – low-slung lounge chairs and beds less than 2ft. high from the floor – are the latest American style.

The floors, with wall-to-wall carpets, are made of reinforced concrete.

A 50ft suspended ramp leads up from the lower part of the ground to a sun deck. One wall of the sun deck comprises an abstract mural which Mr. Seidler painted.

FOOTNOTE: One guest, thinking he was walking through an opening to the back yard, walked straight into a glass wall. Neither guest nor glass was damaged.

Glass Walls

Mr. Harry Seidler, the young architect who has won the Sulman Memorial for one of his designs, has been heaping abuse on Sydney's "brick shacks" and its architecture in general. He can not therefore feel surprised if a critical eye is directed to his own work.

Mr. Seidler's medal-winning house, like some others he has built, has at least one wall made of glass. There are several disadvantages about a glass-walled house, apart from the obvious one that it deprives the occupants of the pleasure of throwing stones.

Cleaning the windows of an ordinary house is a nuisance, but cleaning a whole wall must be worse. It is depressing to come home and be told: "Willie has smashed a window with his cricket ball;" but how much more depressing to hear: "Willie has smashed a wall."

Also, unless they have jumbo-size curtains, the inmates of a glass-walled home surely find it hard to obtain privacy. If this type of construction becomes popular, Sydney will be a paradise for peeping toms.

Modern Ideas In Unusual Home

Womans Day (19.5.52)

Steel columns, glass and open living areas have been used cleverly in a Sydney home to give it spaciousness and make it adaptable to family needs.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. M. Seidler, of Turramurra, Sydney is an interesting example of how modern building methods can be used in house designing. Sydney architect, Mr. Harry Seidler, who designed the home for his parents, has put into practice advanced ideas of architecture which he considers well suited to the Australian climate.

The extraordinary flexibility of the interior arangements were made possible by the use of steel column supports, instead of relying on outside walls to carry the weight of the structure. The disposition of these supports gave the designer the advantage of using his outside walls as mere screens, either opaque or glazed.

Interior divisions, instead of being placed to support some portion of the structure, then add to the fluidity of the design by being movable and adaptable. Use of partition walls which do not reach the ceiling, sliding glass doors, curtains and built-in furniture, results in the illusion of flowing space.

Extensive use of glass on the outer walls was made possible by the privacy of the building site. The house stands in a large property and is surrounded by natural bushland. As the site is on sloping ground, the design provided for the main living floor to be accessible from the ground on one side and elevated on the other.

Underneath this main floor, a portion of the land was excavated to provide a two-car garage, and the natural fall of the land was levelled to provide a sheltered play space, dressing room and a studio and storeroom.

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