Modern Melbourne is a series of filmed interviews and rich archival material that documents the extraordinary lives and careers of some of our most important architects and designers including Peter McIntyre, Mary Featherston, Daryl Jackson, Graeme Gunn, Phyllis Murphy and Allan Powell.
Melbourne’s modernist architects and designers are moving into the later stages of their careers. Their influence on the city is strong and the public appreciation of their early work is growing – they have made an indelible mark on Melbourne. Much of their mid-century modernist work and latter projects are now represented on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Many of the Modern Melbourne subjects enjoyed a working relationship and a friendship with Robin Boyd, the influential architect who championed the international modernist movement in Melbourne.
- Curated by Open House Melbourne
After completing his education at RMIT and the University of Melbourne, Peter McIntyre went on to design and build one of Melbourne’s most iconic modernist houses, River House, before designing the Melbourne Olympic Swimming pool in 1952 for the 1956 Olympics. Both projects illustrated his reputation as Australia’s experimental modernist architect.
Mary Featherston trained in Interior Design at RMIT. In 1965 she formed a life and professional partnership with Grant Featherston and over a period of thirty years, the partnership completed many iconic projects across interiors, furniture, and exhibitions. Mary is also recognised for her pioneering work in children’s learning environments.
Daryl Jackson established his practice with Evan Walker in 1965. His early work in brutalism cemented his reputation as one of Australia’s leading architects, and his considerable teaching, writing, and lecturing has had a significant influence on the course of Australia’s architectural identity.
Architect, urban designer and a former dean of architecture at RMIT University, Graeme Gunn’s early career was shaped by his time at Grounds, Romberg and Boyd. The significant Brutalist Plumbers and Gasfitters Union building is one of his most celebrated projects, and he was pivotal in the success of Merchant Builders.
Phyllis Murphy was one of two female graduates of architecture in 1949 at the University of Melbourne. She launched a practice with her husband John Murphy and the firm quickly became known for their interpretation of modernist design. The Murphy practice was also instrumental in design of the Melbourne Olympic Swimming Stadium and in setting up the National Trust in Victoria.
Allan Powell worked for architect Guilford Bell, before establishing his own practice in partnership with his wife Gail in the late 1970s. Along with his significant work in restaurants and hotels, he has designed many celebrated projects in Melbourne and on the Mornington Peninsula including Di Stasio House and Tarra Warra Museum of Art.
Credits & acknowledgements
Modern Melbourne is made possible by the generous support of the interview subjects, the Heritage Council of Victoria and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
Accessed 16 January 2021