Wednesday, 17 July 2013

MCM Audette House and Castlecrag

Today a look at an iconic Australian mid-century home, Audette House, designed in 1953 by Peter Muller.

Born in Adelaide on 3 July 1927, Peter Muller graduated in Architectural Engineering in 1948.  He was the first architecture recipient of The United States Education Foundation  Fulbright scholarships in 1950, and did post-graduate study in Philadelphia. On his return to Sydney in 1952 the chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Hauslabe, and his step-son Bob Audette approached Mullerr and asked him to design a solar - efficient house for their block in the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag - they thought that with Peter having been in the US for his studies he would understand Colonial architecture. Instead, Muller presented them with this modern model and plans:

1952 model for Peter Muller's Audette House

Bravely, Hauslabe and Audette agreed to build it, provided the model passed proper sun orientation tests under the CSIRO planetarium. It did. Audette House was the beginning of Muller's private practice.

Peter Muller had many major influences including Adrian Snodgrass, Albert Read  and Frank Lloyd Wright (1952) whom in particular appears to have influenced him in his design of Audette house.

This is Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago, designed in about 1908.

Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright
And another in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin house by Frank Lloyd Wright
Castlecrag, where Audette House is located, was originally planned by Walter Burley Griffin, who moved there in 1925 after designing  Australia's capital city, Canberra.  He named the suburb after a towering crag of rock overlooking Middle Harbor, known locally as Edinburgh Castle.  Castlecrag was seen as a community for intellectuals, and many architects of the day built houses there, including Griffin himself, as well as Muller and Eric Nicholls.


Peter Muller's other mid-century works of note include:

For a list of all his projects, see here.



  1. Deb, I always love the look of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses. Of course, my favorite is the one in my favorite movie, Alfred Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST (if I remember correctly, that one is called "Waterfall," though I could be mistaken.) Thanks for sharing these with us!

  2. Falling Water, I think - yes I love that too. I didn't realise it was in that movie though - I will have to watch it again!

  3. Hi Deb,

    Loved your spot on the Audette house as I've always like Peter Muller's work and actually lived in his "Walcott House" in Bynya Rd at Palm Beach for a time.....
    Anyway, a couple of things, the house in the movie North by Northwest is NOT Fallingwater. It is a set, a very good one mind you, but a set nonetheless, undoubtedly done as a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright by Hitchcock as Wright died in the same year that the movie was made, 1959.

    As far as I'm aware, Fallingwater has not featured in any movies except the many documentaries that have been made that are well worth a look, but nothing can beat a site visit in remote western Pennsylvania which I highly recommend!
    Kind regards SCOTT RIPPON


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