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Home & Building, Volume 12 Number 6 (June-July 1950)

Sydney Architect's Home Awarded Sir John Sulman Medal

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Sydney Architect's Home Awarded Sir John Sulman Medal

Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. A. Hanson's home in Illeroy Avenue, Killara a northern residential suburb of Sydney, was last year awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal for the design of a domestic building of exceptional merit, completed within the previous three years. The Medal, which is awarded annually for different types of building in rotation, is part of a bequest by the late Sir John Sulman, pioneer Australian architect and town planner. The Jury which made this award comprised Professor Leslie Wilkinson, Messrs. G. H. B. McDonell, H. H. Smith. M. E. Collard, architects, Hal Missingham, director, National Art Gallery, Adrian Feint, painter, and W. E. Pidgeon, art critic.

The house reflects Mr. Hanson's reaction to living in a suburban flat and his ideas of outdoor living, for which Sydney's climate is suitable throughout most of the year.

It overlooks the beautiful valley of Rocky Creek and the site is covered with natural bush and rock outcrops. The plan was designed to preserve as much bushland as possible and to take full advantage of the view to the north up the valley.

There are two bedrooms, a combined living and dining-room, a studio, kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Each room, except the bathroom and laundry, faces north and receives sunlight all day. The studio, living and sleeping quarters are segregated while the kitchen is centrally placed, handy to the combined living and dining-room and the bedrooms.

At the end of the entrance hall, is a large window overlooking a rockery and pool. On the left is the studio and opposite the combined living-dining-room, which is approximately 30 ft. by 14 ft. with a large window and plate-glass page break
Architect: Albert H. A. Henson, B.Arch., A.R.I.B.A., A.R.A.I.A.

Architect: Albert H. A. Henson, B.Arch., A.R.I.B.A., A.R.A.I.A.

double doors opening on to a stone-paved terrace, lawn and pool. Heating, for the living-room, is provided by a stone fireplace, which is backed by an outside fireplace for heating the terrace on cool nights or for use as a barbecue.

The living-room opens into a passage, leading to the kitchen and two bedrooms. The kitchen is fitted with a dining-nook, plenty of cupboards, double compartment sink and fluorescent lighting. It opens on to the front terrace so that open-air meals can be served there easily. Both bedrooms have built-in wardrobes and open out on to the garden.

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The building is now 85 ft. long, with an area of 1650 square feet. Plans, however, provide for the addition of a third bedroom on the western end and a garage on the eastern end, bringing the overall length to 120 ft.

Extremely wide eaves have been built on the north side to give protection from the sun. Over the terrace the roof has been extended in the form of a projecting pergola for grapvines and roses.

The exterior finish consists of common bricks, bagged with excess mortar during construction, and then painted with a synthetic resin paint a haze blue colour, which gives a very light grey surface blending with the grey-green trunks of the gum trees. The woodwork and steel framed windows are painted white to contrast with this colour. The retaining wall to the terrace which has been built up in front of the house is of coursed random rubble stonework most of which has been obtained from the site. The outside fireplace and the whole chimney is built of similar stonework. In the back garden there is a barbecue of irregular stonework. Altogether, and as can be seen from the plan and photographs, this house succeeds in integrating house and garden and providing for outdoor living in a way which could well be widely emulated in both Australia and New Zealand.

The walls inside are of sand-finished cement-rendered plaster. Both walls and painted woodwork are pale-grey, which gives a feeling of space and serves as a background for bright colours in furnishings. The floors of living-room, entrance hall and studio are of polished tallow wood. The studio has blue curtains and a bright red Indian rug; the living-room mushroom coloured Indian carpets and turquoise blue patterned curtains. The slat blinds also are light grey. Kitchen cupboards are painted grey, with cherry-red linoleum on the bench tops. All unnecessary mouldings and fittings have been eliminated. There are no picture rails or ceiling cornices and door architraves have been reduced to a minimum.