Glenn Murcutt is undeniably one of Australia’s most famous architects. He is widely known for his uniquely Australian designs that are inspired by our diverse climate and landscapes, and in 2002, he was awarded the Pritzker Prize (considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for architecture).
Glenn had been asked several times by builders to collaborate on a prefabricated design and his answer was always ‘no’. That was until Penney Constructions director Justin Penney approached him in 2018.
Justin had been hosting guests for a few years at two self-contained retreats on his sprawling New South Wales country property, dubbed Strikes Mudgee, and had received ‘quite a bit of interest’ from visitors wanting to know if he could build them a similar home off-site.
So when he met Glenn through a job and ‘got to know him a bit’, he decided to approach him for the project.
‘I had to leave the idea with him for a while, and about six months later he was very enthusiastic and ready to have a crack at it,’ Justin says.
The brief was to design a prefabricated, moveable, one-bedroom house that would suit a variety of sites. It also had to settle quietly into the surrounding environment, while offering protection from the elements.
‘We wanted Glenn to put his stamp of beautiful, functional, and purposeful architecture on our building,’ Justin adds. ‘The challenge was to make his design elements true to intention in a prefabricated building.’
The resulting Strikes 3 getaway took two iterations, and more than three years to complete. It features plenty of Glenn’s signatures and modernist details — from the rustic material palette’s use of steel and corrugated iron, to the projected windows that overhang the exterior, and the striking flat roofline.
The interiors are lined in plywood timber, while a fireplace and the deck have been carefully adapted from some of his other famous buildings.
‘It’s a consolidation of his life’s work,’ Justin says. ‘I love the window seat, it really makes the living room feel generous when its not actually a very big building.’
While Justin’s still working on his ultimate goal of being able to offer the pre-fabricated building to customers, the finished project is now available to book for short stays, where guests can feel immersed in the private bushland views, or visit some of Mudgee’s best vineyard’s and restaurants. And even Glenn himself came to visit when it was recently completed.
‘He stayed for a couple days and bought some other architects too,’ Justin says. ‘He’s very happy with it!’