Book / John Dalton. Subtropical Modernism and the Turn to Environment

by Elizabeth Musgrave
Architect Monography

John Dalton. Subtropical Modernism and the Turn to Environment in Australian Architecture

By: Elizabeth Musgrave

  • Hardcover/ 240 Pages
  • Dimensions(cm): 23.5×15.88×1.91

Published: January 2023
ISBN: 9781350291515
Series: Bloomsbury Studies in Modern Architecture

This book addresses the work of architect John Dalton (1927-2007), an important voice in mid-century modernism in Australia whose work, despite his being exhibited and published internationally and also winning several awards for his designs, is woefully little known.

Published as part of the Bloomsbury Studies in Modern Architecture series, which brings to light the work of significant yet overlooked modernist architects, the book draws on previously unpublished archival documents, including Dalton’s drawings and paintings, transcripts of lectures, letters and articles, plans and photographic images of built works, to characterize the architect not only as a very talented designer, but also as a pioneer of environmentalist thinking in Australia.

The book reveals how Dalton’s architectural preoccupations parallel a transition in mid-century modern architecture globally from functional efficiency and material rationalism, to a concern with being in dialogue with the environment, confirming a wider ‘environmental turn’ that involved the integration of environmental with cultural considerations through relational thinking, and which preceded and transcends the discipline’s fascination with theoretical paradigms such as Critical Regionalism.

John Dalton: Subtropical Modernism and the Turn to Environment in Australian Architecture is thus not only an important contribution to the existing scholarship on 20th century modernism, but also to the current renewed interest in environmental design across the globe.

About the Author

Dr Elizabeth Musgrave is Honorary Fellow of The University of Queensland, a registered architect practicing as PriceMusgrave Architects, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects. She is a former academic at The University of Queensland, Visiting Lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts, Bond University, and the University of Technology Sydney and has served on the Queensland Board of Architects and with the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia.




  1. Introducing John Dalton and the Landscape of Post-War Australia
  2. Discovering the Idiomatic: Detail in Art & Architecture
  3. Form and its Experience: Designs for ‘Sunlight, Shade and Shadow’
  4. Environment as Provocation and Narrative: Dalton the Activist
  5. Ecologies in Practice: Structuring the Interactions of Individual and Community
  6. Synthesizing Environmental and Architectural Perspectives
    Conclusion: Legacies of ‘Sunlight, Shade and Shadow’