Australian architects lead the world with louvres

Glenn Murcutt's 1973 Marie Short or "Verandah House" pioneered Australian architects' use of louvres to control light and air. Naturally.

Glenn Murcutt is best known for his use of “leaves of iron.” Perhaps his true signature isn’t corrugated iron but more significantly the control of light and air using louvres. He has been quoted as having failed ‘Sunlight and Shade’ during his architectural education, but it’s Glenn more than any other local architect we can thank for the re-discovery of the versatility of shutters to solve design challenges.

Glenn Murcutt pioneered the natural way to control light and air: louvres.

His houses are meticulously designed to manage the daily and seasonal impacts of passive solar energy, admitting welcome winter warmth and excluding unwanted summer sun. He pays particular attention to cross ventilation in his designs. A signature example of his seminal impact on Australian architects’ response to the environment is his 1973 Marie Short House in Kempsey. He later bought the home for himself and expanded from the original plan. It is constructed of simple, readily available materials – timber from a nearby sawmill form the framing and the walls.

Glenn Murcutt louvresMurcutt house controls light with louvres

Louvres feature in Murcutt's 1973 Verandah House

It is often described as the “Verandah House”, which we feel is a bit of a misnomer when you realise Murcutt dispensed with the traditional country verandah here and instead applied louvres on the edge of the interior space.  These louvres are the key to controlling light and air, naturally.

Murcutt Verandah House

"When the wind is blowing in the summer, it has a wonderful cooling effect," Murcutt says of his home. "In the winter, the louvers have a tendency to heat up, and you can warm your back against them in the mornings."


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