International Docomomo Australia Fiches

 

EDUCATION

The NSW selection reflects the important part played by the Government Architect’s office in New South Wales in advancing the cause and use of Modern architecture as an expression of an economical and functional approach to the almost overwhelming need to construct schools and technical colleges for an ever-expanding, young population. Both before and after World War II the NSW Government Architect’s Branch of the Public Works Department encouraged young architects to experiment and to use the latest designs from overseas as well as developing a local version of Modernism in response to climate and geography.

The development of the demountable classroom modules in NSW was especially important in providing economical accommodation in newly-developed suburbs and country towns as well as providing a means of accommodating students where more permanent school buildings had been destroyed by fire, etc.

In addition to the work undertaken by the various state government architect offices, private architects also designed education buildings that advanced the exploration of regional Modernism. Tocal College at Paterson in the Hunter Valley of NSW is an agricultural training college, established by the Presbyterian Church.

The Victorian selection reflects the early and high quality uptake of Modernism for school buildings before World War II as well as the more avant-garde expressionistic architecture in Victoria in the 1970s.

(Editor working party: Dr Scott Robertson)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: MURRAY VALLEY PRIVATE HOSPITAL AND CANCER TREATMENT CENTRE
Town: Wodonga, Victoria
Design by: Kevin Borland in conjunction with Commonwealth Department of housing & Construction.
Date: 1975-77
Type: Originally designed as a College of Advanced Education (tertiary college)
Editor fiche: Douglas Evans, 2007

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: MACROBERTSON GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL
Town: Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Norman Seabrook
Date: 1933-34
Type: High School
Editor fiche: Douglas Evans, 2007

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: GOLDSTEIN COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF NSW
Town: Kensington, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Peter Hall within the office of the NSW Government Architect
(E.H. Farmer)
Date: 1962-64
Type: University residential college
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2007

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: HUNTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Town: Mayfield, Newcastle, NSW
Design by: Harry Rembert within the office of the NSW Government Architect
(E.E. Smith & C. Parkes)
Date: 1934-40
Type: Originally designed as Technical College (part secondary and tertiary)
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2007

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: DEMOUNTABLE CLASSROOMS
Town: Various locations in NSW
Design by: NSW Government Architect (E.H. Farmer)
Date: 1966
Type: Primary & Secondary School modular, prefabricated, transportable classrooms
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2007

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, KU-RING-GAI CAMPUS (FORMER KU-RING-GAI COLLEGE OF ADVANCED EDUCATION)
Town: Lindfield, Sydney, NSW
Design by: NSW Government Architect (E.H. Farmer)
Date: 1968-72
Type: Tertiary education college
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2005

Fiche 7
Current name of the building: TOCAL COLLEGE
Town: Paterson, NSW
Design by: Philip Cox & Ian McKay, architects in association
Date: 1963-65
Type: Agricultural education college
Editor fiche: Louise Cox, 2014


 

HEALTH

From the earliest years of settlement the Australian colonies kept up to date with international developments in hospital design. Military hospitals served as a model until the publication of Florence Nightingale’s series of notes in the late 1860s. Following World War I, by which time Nightingale’s hospital planning principles were no longer in vogue, architects and hospital boards initially looked to Great Britain and America for models. In the interwar years Australian architects visited hospitals in Great Britain, America and sanatoria in Europe and Scandinavia. Alvar Alto’s Paimio sanatorium was highly influential and was visited by a number of Australian architects during the 1930s including Arthur Stephenson and Walter Bunning.   RIBA award-wining buildings such as the 1933 Royal Masonic Hospital at Ravenswood Park were also influential in the design of hospitals in NSW in particular.

The emergence of functionalist architecture can be traced in the design of hospital buildings during the 1930s, appearing in the design of hospitals long before it appeared in domestic architecture.   Wide verandahs were already a feature of Nightingale-style ward blocks and this feature was continued in the modern ward blocks. Buildings such as Gloucester House at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital clearly show the influence of the multi-storey sanatoria erected in Holland, Switzerland and Finland. This hospital war block, and the Mildura Base hospital were both erected to contain intermediate patients, rather than charitable cases (in large public wards) and private patients (in individual rooms). By the late 1930s specialised blocks were being constructed such as the King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney designed by Arthur Stephenson of Stephenson Meldrum and Turner (later Stephenson & Turner) in 1937-38 and completed in 1941.

Hospitals were amongst the largest buildings erected in Australia in the immediate post war years, as the allocation of building materials was restricted for longer than the duration of the war. To cater for returning soldiers substantial repatriation hospitals were opened, including the Repatriation General Hospital Heidelberg in Victoria commenced as a military hospital in 1942 and Yarralla (Concord Repatriation General Hospital) in Sydney both of which were designed by Stephenson & Turner.   The importance of these modern hospital buildings in NSW is reflected by the Sulman medal which both King George V and the Concord Repatriation Hospital received.

Following the war local governments were able to obtain government funding to erect municipal facilities such as baby health centres and libraries and these were built in a modern functionalist style, rather than in revivals that had characterised many interwar municipal buildings.

(Editor working party: Dr Noni Boyd)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: AGNES WALSH HOUSE
Town: Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
Design by: PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Date: 1947-53
Type: Hospital nurses quarters
Editor fiche: Katrina Chisholm, 2012

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: FORMER KING GEORGE V MEMORIAL HOSPITAL FOR MOTHERS & BABIES
Town: Camperdown, Sydney, NSW
Design by: STEPHENSON, MELDRUM & TURNER
Date: 1939-41
Type: Maternity hospital
Editor fiche: Cameron Logan, 2012

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: FORMER PRINCE HENRY HOSPITAL MEDICAL WARDS
Town: Little Bay, Sydney, NSW
Design by: NSW GOVERNMENT ARCHITECT
Date: 1933-35
Type: Infectious diseases hospital
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd & Scott Robertson, 2012

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: MILDURA BASE HOSPITAL
Town: Mildura, Victoria
Design by: Irwin & Stephenson
Date: 1931-34
Type: Community hospital
Editor fiche: Cameron Logan, 2012

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: PUNCHBOWL BABY HEALTH CENTRE
Town: Punchbowl, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Davey & Brindley
Date: 1945-48
Type: Baby health centre
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2012

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: SANDRINGHAM DISTRICT HOSPITAL
Town: Sandringham, Victoria
Design by: Esmond Dorney
Date: 1957-64
Type: Regional hospital
Editor fiche: Cameron Logan, 2012

Fiche 7
Current name of the building: GLOUCESTER HOUSE
Town: Camperdown, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Stephenson, Meldrum & Turner
Date: 1935-36
Type: City hospital
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2014

 

INDUSTRY

Perhaps more than any other city in Australia, the greater urban area of Melbourne has always been home to small to medium scale manufacturing and processing associated with textiles and clothing, building materials and food processing. We therefore chose a strong representative example of this kind of industrial, modern facility in the Sanitarium Factory site and the nearby Signs factory. Both factories exhibit the early transfer of Modernism to represent a new of manufacturing.

However more unique to Australia were the purpose-built towns, often located in remote locations across the country, that were developed as company towns to build communities for populations dedicated to mining and resources development, hydro-power schemes, and defense. It is for this reason that we chose the town site of Woomera as deserving of documentation. Here, through both purpose-built infrastructure and a heavy reliance on prefabrication, a extraordinary fully-planned settlement for the weapons-testing industry was constructed in the Australian desert.

The NSW selection includes an early example of the use of modern architect in the public realm, the School of Automotive Trades at the Sydney Institute of Technology and also a relatively unknown work of Marcel Breuer, part of his series of factory buildings for the Torin corporation. These two buildings are amongst the best examples of modern architecture applied to factory and workshop buildings in the state.

(Editor working party: Dr Scott Robertson)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: FORMER TORIN BUILDING
Town: PENRITH, SYDNEY
Design by: MARCEL BREUER AND HIS PARTNER HERBERT BECKHARD IN ASSOCIATION WITH HARRY SEIDLER & ASSOCIATES.
Date: 1974-76
Type: FACTORY
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2014

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL AND AUTOMOTIVE TRADES
Town: SYDNEY
Design by: NSW GOVERNMENT ARCHITECT’S BRANCH
Date: 1937-1940
Type: WORKSHOP
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2008

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: EDGEWORTH RESORT AND SPA
(formerly Sanitarium)
Town: WARBURTON
Design by: EDWARD BILSON
Date: 1936-1938
Type: FACTORY
Editor fiche: Hannah Lewi, 2008

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: SIGNS PUBLISHING COMPANY
Town: WARBURTON
Design by: EDWARD BILSON
Date: 1935
Type: FACTORY
Editor fiche: Hannah Lewi, 2008

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: WOOMERA VILLAGE
Town: WOOMERA
Design by: Commonwealth Department of Works and Housing
Date: 1947 –
Type: COMPANY TOWN
Editor fiche: Hannah Lewi, 2008

 

MODERN HOUSE

Universal home ownership has been a goal of Australians and Australian governments since the 1920s when Australian Prime Minister, John Bruce, declared the “if you give a man a mortgage he will never become a Bolshevik”. Flat (or apartment) dwellers were seen as being licentious, immoral and “un-British” by the popular press, reinforcing the government’s desire to house the majority in detached houses in which they had a financial stake. Ownership of detached single-family houses is still the desired aim of most but, increasingly, rising costs of housing and a more mobile younger generation have seen the rise in popularity of higher density apartment living and such housing forms around a third of new housing in the two largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The post-World War 2 period saw the rise of regional modernisms as returned servicemen architects carved a new world order out of the suburban landscape. Melbourne architects explored non-rectilinear geometry and coloured lightweight claddings and, in Sydney, architects related their houses to the cheaper, steep, bush-clad sites around the harbour. The humid tropics of northern Australia informed the architecture of Brisbane architects as they sought to adapt modernism to the realities of humid climates.

Middle class house owners in the major cities were offered mass-produced, architect-designed “project homes” of differing configurations to suit different size families and sites. The clear, simple planning and the use of minimal, logical construction and utilising the economies of scale, modernism was made available to the discerning public.

(Editor working party: Dr Scott Robertson)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: DURATION COTTAGES (PERMANENT)
Town: St Marys, Sydney, NSW
Design by: WALTER BUNNING
Date: 1942-43
Type: Mass-produced single family residences
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2005

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: LUCAS HOUSE (aka GLASS HOUSE)
Town: Castlecrag, Sydney, NSW
Design by: BILL & RUTH LUCAS
Date: 1957
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2003

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: PETTIT & SEVITT PROJECT HOUSE DISPLAY VILLAGE
Town: Richmond Avenue, St Ives, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Ancher, Mortlock, Murray & Woolley (Ken Woolley)
Date: 1964
Type: Mass-produced single family residences
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2005

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: FORMER ROY GROUNDS HOUSE & FLATS
Town: Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Grounds, Romberg & Boyd (Roy Grounds)
Date: 1953-54
Type: Single family residence with multi-family flats behind
Editor fiche: William Harkness, 2006

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: SEIDLER HOUSE
Town: Killara, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Harry & Penelope Seidler
Date: 1966-67
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2003

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: ROBIN BOYD HOUSE II
Town: Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Robin Boyd
Date: 1957
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Andrew Murray, 2014

Fiche 7
Current name of the building: SUMMERHAYES HOUSE
Town: Mosman Park, Perth, Western Australia
Design by: Geoffrey Summerhayes
Date: 1961
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Andrew Murray, 2014

Fiche 8
Current name of the building: WOOLLEY HOUSE I
Town: Mosman, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Ken Woolley
Date: 1961-62
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2014

 

OTHER MODERNISMS

The Australian Working Party selected a variety of building types and styles within the broader tenants of Modernism to exemplify the theme of “Other Modernisms”. This theme encompasses non-western and non-canonical works, other agencies and identities including those motivated by race, gender and class, the more ordinary and everyday, and the stylistically impure and the hybrid. It is therefore a theme of importance and relevance to the documentation of Australian Modernism in its many guises. Examples selected for documentation include: Manly Ferry Wharf, Sydney (1941); McIntyre House, Melbourne (1955); Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (1956-59); Preshil School, Melbourne (1962-72); the Former Readers Digest Building (1964-67); and the Cameron Offices, Canberra (1968-1977).

The Manly Ferry Wharf was selected as an example of modern architecture’s role in creating public infrastructure and new buildings types devoted to recreation that were popular and optimistic in design. While Preshil School (Borland architects) constitutes a unique collection of buildings for a school founded on progressive and experimental education ideals. Vernacular materials and non-rectilinear geometries were responsive to children’s imagination and experience. In the Readers Digest Building, the architect John James also explored a non-conventional expression of concrete elements ad integrated sculptural details by the Australian sculptor Douglas Anand.

The Cameron Offices (John Andrews architects) situated in the national capital realised an experimental vision of how a large government organisation could function on an urban scale. John Andrews here designed a Brutalist concrete network of buildings and landscaped exterior spaces. The McIntyre House was also motivated by an interest, at a vernacular scale, in daring structural expression and risk, which was a preoccupation shared by a number of architects in Melbourne in the 1950s and ’60s.

(Editor working party: Associate Professor Hannah Lewi)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: CAMERON OFFICES
Town: Belconnen, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Design by: JOHN ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL
Date: 1968-73
Type: Office building
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd, 2006 & Scott Robertson, 2014

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: MANLY FERRY WHARF
Town: Manly, Sydney, NSW
Design by: NSW MARITIME SERVICES BOARD
Date: 1941
Type: Public Transport infrastructure
Editor fiche: Jennifer Hill, 2014

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: FORMER MCINTYRE HOUSE
Town: Kew, Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Peter & Dione McIntyre
Date: 1955
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: William Harkness, 2006

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: MARGARET LYLE MEMORIAL SCHOOL
Town: Preshil, Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Kevin Borland
Date: 1962-72
Type: School
Editor fiche: Lani Fender, 2003

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: FORMER READERS DIGEST BUILDING
Town: Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW
Design by: John James
Date: 1965-67
Type: Office building & factory
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd & Scott Robertson, 2014

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: SIDNEY MYER MUSIC BOWL
Town: Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Yuncken Freeman Brothers Griffiths & Simpson
Date: 1956-59
Type: Music shell
Editor fiche: Andrew Murray, 2014

 

POST-WAR IMPORT-EXPORT

In the interwar period Australian architects were influenced by the Modern Movement in Europe through publications, European tours and through working directly for modernists in Europe. Some of the interwar modernists were émigré architects fleeing persecution in Europe. After the war these methods of transmission and influence continued.

The Australian selection traces these influences. The Swedish prefabricated houses, whilst modern in planning and construction method, were designed for a mass market to overcome the acute post-war housing shortage. They were a part of an extensive importation of prefabricated houses from Scandinavia, Great Britain and Austria. These houses were, however, designed by Australian architects in the employ of the Australian Government.

The Hillman House by Henry (Heinrich) Epstein was an example of the direct transfer of European Modernism by a European practitioner and the Richardson House, by Australian-born architect Peter Muller, was an example of the immense influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on the organic stream of post-war Australian Modernism. Stanhill Flats in Melbourne is another example of European Modernism transferred to Australia by a European-born and trained émigré architect, Frederick Romberg, with no concession to the Australian climate.

The high rise, curtain-wall office buildings, MLC, ICI, Qantas reflect the direct transfer of American technology to Australia in the immediate post-war period whereas Liner House was a smaller scale office building incorporating US curtain wall technology but with a European sensibility. Australia Square by Harry Seidler represents the development of the office building type from a lightweight curtain wall clad structure to a robust expression of finely detailed and constructed pre-cast concrete façade elements.

(Editor working party: Dr Scott Robertson)

Fiche 1
Current name of the building: HILLMAN HOUSE
Town: Roseville, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Henry Epstein
Date: 1948-49
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2004

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: MLC BUILDING
Town: North Sydney, NSW
Design by: Bates, Smart & McCutcheon
Date: 1954-57
Type: Office building
Editor fiche: Peter McKenzie, 2004

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: QANTAS BUILDING
Town: Sydney, NSW
Design by: Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder
Date: 1949-57
Type: Office building
Editor fiche: Geoff Ashley, 2004

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: RICHARDSON HOUSE
Town: Palm Beach, Sydney, NSW
Design by: Peter Muller
Date: 1955-56
Type: Single family residence
Editor fiche: Jacqueline Urford

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: SWEDISH PREFABRICATED HOUSES
Town: Various locations in Australia
Design by: Commonwealth Department of Works & Housing (Sydney Branch Office)
Date: c. 1951
Type: Prefabricated, mass-produced single family residences
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2004

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: AUSTRALIA SQUARE
Town: Sydney, NSW
Design by: Harry Seidler
Date: 1962-67
Type: Multi-storey office building
Editor fiche: Jennifer Hill, 2014

Fiche 7
Current name of the building: ICI HOUSE
Town: Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Bates, Smart & McCutcheon
Date: 1955-58
Type: Multi-storey office building
Editor fiche: Andrew Murray, 2014

Fiche 8
Current name of the building: LINER HOUSE
Town: Sydney, NSW
Design by: Bunning & Madden
Date: 1959-60
Type: Low-rise office building
Editor fiche: Jennifer Hill, 2014

Fiche 9
Current name of the building: STANHILL FLATS
Town: Melbourne, Victoria
Design by: Frederick Romberg
Date: 1945-50
Type: Multi-storey residential building
Editor fiche: Andrew Murray, 2014

 

POWER

Like any other modern nation Australia has used architecture to define its institutions that are symbolic of power and government. As a relatively young nation, Australia has particularly drawn on the evolving language of Modernism to define such institutions in the 20th century.

The youngest building included in the Australian selection is the national Parliament House, (1980-88). Although arguably built at the end of the Modernist period, the design sits within a late Modern idiom and is the most significant and awarded civic building in Australia since the Sydney Opera House. The extensive building and landscaping forms a centre-piece in the national capital plan of Canberra and is symbolic of the Australian democratic system.

Canberra has many other significant modern buildings of power, but the High Court and National Gallery of Australia is singled out as another very significant civic group. The precinct exemplifies Australia’s explorations into the late-Modern brutalist language.

The Warringah Council Civic Centre in suburban Sydney is also representative of the late-Modern brutalist language that preceded the High Court and was adopted for a number of urban, civic centres and community buildings.

With the large size of the country, Australian states and their capital cities have always played an important role in the governing of the nation. This sense of distance from the centre of national power is particularly felt in Western Australia, where the capital city of Perth is the site of judicial, political and administrative power for 1/3 of the country. Dumas House in Perth has been selected as representative of the extent of this state government administration. The prominent post-war tower, overlooking the city, displays climatic inflection of the international commercial modern idiom.

Of course not all significant sites of civic power are confined to city and suburban settings. A number of notable modern local government and administrative complexes were built in regional centres in the mid-20th century, and Warracknabeal Town Hall stands out as a fine example of a Dudok-inspired town hall in country Victoria.

(Editor working party: Associate Professor Hannah Lewi)


Fiche 1
Current name of the building: DUMAS HOUSE
Town: WEST PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Design by: PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
Date: 1961-65
Type: GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
Editor fiche: Hannah Lewi & Katrina Chisholm, 2010

Fiche 2
Current name of the building: NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA & HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA
Town: CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Design by: EDWARDS, MADIGAN, TORZILLO & BRIGGS
Date: 1972-82
Type: GOVERNMENT PRECINCT (GALLERY & HIGH COURT)
Editor fiche: Eric Martin, 2014

Fiche 3
Current name of the building: AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Town: CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Design by: MITCHELL, GIURGOLA, THORPE
Date: 1980-88
Type: NATIONAL PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Editor fiche: Eric Martin, 2014

Fiche 4
Current name of the building: WARRACKNABEAL TOWN HALL
Town: WARRACKNABEAL, VICTORIA
Design by: EDWARD BILSON
Date: 1938-40
Type: MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT
Editor fiche: Christine Phillips, 2010

Fiche 5
Current name of the building: WARRINGAH COUNCIL CHAMBERS
Town: DEE WHY, NEW SOUTH WALES
Design by: EDWARDS, MADIGAN, TORZILLO & BRIGGS
Date: 1970-73
Type: MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT
Editor fiche: Scott Robertson, 2010

Fiche 6
Current name of the building: COUNCIL HOUSE
Town: PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Design by: HOWLETT & BAILEY
Date: 1960-63
Type: GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
Editor fiche: Hannah Lewi & Katrina Chisholm, 2014

 

SPORT AND BODY
Aus_Sport_and_Body_AC_Science 2003.pdf
Aus_Sport_and_Body_GlenF 2003.pdf
Aus_Sport_and_Body_Manly_surf_pavilion 2003.pdf
Aus_Sport_and_Body_MCG 2003.pdf
Aus_Sport_and_Body_MOP 2003.pdf