Jack house

Wahroonga NSW

Built in 1957, the Jack house was designed by architects Russell C. Jack and John Allen, in collaboration with architect Pamela Jack, for Russell and Pamela’s own family.

It won the prestigious Sir John Sulman Medal for domestic architecture in 1957, the chairman of the judging panel, GHB McDonnell, describing the house as: “… in the best tradition of architecture, but essentially of today, exploiting admirably its hilly site, and the spirit, material and techniques of our people, and a worthy contribution to our domestic architecture.”

The Jack house proved to be an influential contributor to the Sydney School of architecture. Built on a difficult, sloping site and using exposed natural materials, the house consisted of a series of interconnecting rooms orientated away from the street and toward the bush. The house was constructed on a limited budget and is modest in size, though additional bedrooms were added by Jack as his family expanded and a verandah was converted to a sitting room in the early 1970s. In his entry on Russell and Pamela Jack for the Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture, Scott Robertson has written that “the Jacks considered the logical expansion of structure to be very important but also felt a strong need for a richness of embellishment and decoration. Controversially they had feature walls of stock wallpaper, which added a richness to the modernist interior of the house.”

The Jack House is listed as an item of State significance on the NSW Heritage Register. It was photographed in November 2008 shortly before Russell Jack sold the house.

Photographer: Brenton McGeachie

Date Photographed: November 2008

Original image format: born digital

Copyright: Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Photograph © Brenton McGeachie

Further reading: Jennifer Taylor, An Australian identity: houses for Sydney 1953-63, Dept. of Architecture, University of Sydney, Sydney, 1972

Gary Charles Wolff, The Sydney school: thesis presented to the Faculty of Architecture of the University of New South Wales in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Architecture, Sydney, 1984

Documenting NSW homes

Garden study, Harrington Park
Documenting NSW Homes

Recorded for the future: documenting NSW homes

The Caroline Simpson Library has photographically recorded homes since 1989

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