Architecture of Australia

Architecture of Australia

Architecture in Australia, at least in the early stages of the country's history shows the substantial influence of that of English architecture, and to an extent United States architecture. At best, Australian architects sought to be early adopters of imported styles and to put local interpretations on them. Contemporary Australian architecture post World War II reflects the multiculturalism of Australian society and an emerging identity as a melting pot of ideas.


thumb|right|A 19th century engraving of an indigenous Australian encampment, representing the indigenous mode of life in the cooler parts of Australia before the arrival of Europeans

In the period before european settlement of Australia in 1788, evidence of permanent structures built by Indigenous Australians in Australia is limited, much of what they built was temporary for housing and other needs. As a British colony, the first European buildings were derivative of the European fashions of the time. Tents and wattle and daub huts preceded more substantial structures. Georgian architecture is seen in early government buildings and the homes of the wealthy. With the Australian gold rushes of the mid-19th century major buildings, largely in Sydney and Melbourne and to a lesser extent in regional capitals such as Ballarat and Bendigo were built in the style of Victorian architecture. Other significant architectural movements in Australian architecture include the Federation style of the turn of the 20th century, which Australia began to play with the idea of a "style of our own", and the modern styles of the late 20th century which sought to reject historicism.

Walter Burley Griffin was an American architect and landscape architect who played a key role in designing Canberra, Australia's capital city. A legacy of his unique building designs remains in a small number of Melbourne buildings and the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag. Castlecrag was planned by Griffin and also features a number of houses designed in the organic Modernist style he developed after the Prairie School architecture that marked his earlier career in the United States. The simple, flat-roofed cottages that Griffin built in Canberra used his innovative, patented techniques for concrete construction.

Like elsewhere in the world, socio-political factors have played their roles in shaping Australian architecture. During the early 20th Century, cities across Australia had placed building height limits, typically 150 feet (45 m), thus hampering the development of American-style skyscrapers until the limits were lifted in the late 1950s. Likewise the popular notion of the "Australian Dream", in which families seek to own their free-standing houses with backyards, meant that high-density housings were rare in Australia until the end of the 20th Century.

Significant concern was raised during the 1960s, with green bans and heritage concerns responding to the destruction of earlier buildings and the skyscraper boom, particularly in Sydney. Green bans helped to protect historic eighteenth century buildings in The Rocks from being demolished to make way for office towers, and prevented the Royal Botanic Gardens from being turned into a carpark for the Sydney Opera House. In Melbourne a battle was fought to preserve historic Carlton, Victoria from slum reclamation for public housing, while gentrification played a big part in the suburb's salvation.

In the 21st century, many Australian architects have taken a more Avant-garde approach to design, and many buildings have emerged that are truly unique and reflective of Australia's culture and values. As a result, many Australian practices are beginning to expand their influence overseas rather than the reverse which was often the case.

Australian architectural styles

Architectural styles have been basically exotic and derivative. Only recently have climate and environment played a major role.

During the nineteenth century, Australian architects were inspired by developments in England. From the 1930s on, North American and International influences started to appear.

There are 2 main categories: "Residential" and "Non-Residential". Residential styles are the most prolific and account for the majority of the buildings constructed in Australia.

Buildings were often heavily influenced by the origins of their patrons, hence while the British would like to be reminded of their Gothic churches and Tudoresque cottages of a perfect England, the Dutch, German, Polish, Greek, Italian and other nationalities would also attempt to recreate the architecture of their homelands.

seealso|Australian residential architectural styles (30,000 BCE - present)seealso|Australian non-residential architectural styles (1788 - present)

Australian architects

Significant architects include:
*Harry Seidler
*Robin Boyd
*Roy Grounds
*Francis Greenway
*Glenn Murcutt
*Joseph Reed
*John James Clark
*Nonda Katsalidis

Significant firms include:
*Bates Smart
*Denton Corker Marshall

Notable structures

There are many notable structures, of particular importance are:
*the Sydney Opera House (the original design being by Jorn Utzon)
*the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne
*Federation Square, Melbourne
*Parliament House, Canberra.

ee also

External links

* [ Australian Architects under World Architects]
* [ Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)]
* [ Gallery of Australian Architecture]
* [ Gallery of Federation Architecture]
* [ Gallery of Sydney Architecture]

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