The Development of Nationalism & Regionalism in Australian Architecture

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Conclusion
  3. Bibliography

Introduction

From the 1880s, “nationalism” and “regionalism” had been started to be two of the keywords on the Australian development of architecture. These two words point toward the nation’s sake of rejecting foreign architectural approaches and seeking of the local architectural characteristics in Australia. During that time, along with the literal physical & cultural isolation with their motherland: England, nationalism and regionalism became a motivating force in Australian architectural thoughts, and the architects started looking beyond Britain to America Europe, and Japan for sources that could provide a distinctive Australian style of architecture. Therefore, when the time comes to 1960s, Australian Architectural style was regarded as being pulled in three ways at once from three remote points of the compass (Hogben, 'NATIONALISM IN AUSTRALIAN ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY, 1890–1920: A Discourse Analysis.')

From above, it can be regarded that the modernism of Australian nationalism and regionalism is still based on the referencing from foreign styles but there would be an obvious fusion and editing for adapting them into Australian local cultural, climate, and geographic conditions. According to this background, This essay is going to introduce two of the Australian Architects who significantly contributed to the development of the local modern architectural identities, and create a deep analysis of the relationship of their proposals with foreign approaches to amplify the international influences on the Australian concept of nationalism and regionalism.

Robin Boyd is an Australian modernist, seems to be proposing a rejection of carrying any foreign approach to local projects. This was because, after the world wars, there were various kinds of aesthetics and theories explored and made up with a series of arguments for occupying the mainstream of the current age. However, at the meantime, Australia was right in the process of building up its own style as well. Thus, what made Robin worried was that he saw the conceptual conflicts about various kinds of aesthetics on America could also be reflected in the architectural development of Australia, which is the other side of the earth.

Actually, the point wasn’t avoiding embracing the American style. instead, Robin knew that Australia has spent many years time to get further of British style influences in order to find an Australian way for architecture. So that would be another track to import another existing culture. Therefore, as a nationalist, Robin was desperate to get Australia out of its inferiority rut, he challenged the cultural lag, and suggested Australians to experience success on their own terms; to lead rather than follow in designing and planning the newly expanding cities; to write their own agenda, distancing the patronizing cult of derived urban mediocrity (Boyd, The Australian Ugliness.).

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With this encouragement of developing a sense of Australian nationalism by rejecting foreign approaches, At the end of the 1950s, A style that was named “new brutalism” started to spread in Australia. The definition of the New Brutalism ethic seems to be much clearer than that of the aesthetic, which almost got nothing associated with brutality; however, it represented freedom from all aesthetic inhibitions. But in fact, it was the discipline of a virtually religious respect for the nature of methods and materials, and for the realities of functional parts (Goad, 'Bringing It All Home.'). Moreover, for Boyd, the New Brutalism was a reaction to his long-held concerns for the Australian trend of imitating the contemporary American aspiration for beauty (Goad, 'Bringing It All Home.').

Also, In Boyd’s book, He described the contemporary philosophical choice in architecture as being split between the “Romantics” and the “Realists”. The “Romantics” were the Americans and the Italians, while the “Realists” were the Japanese and the New Brutalism. (Goad, 'Bringing It All Home.') Then after that, Boyd himself was also commended as standing by the side with the Japanese and the (too realist) English Brutalists against the predominantly American and Italian Romantics (Raisbeck, 'Architecture Or Antiarchitecture.').

As supporting evidence of his proposes, The Black Dolphin Motel could be treated as an opposite view against American commercialism: a relaxed siting of a line of blocks amongst Australian dense eucalyptus, with naked, locally produced bricks, repeating modular window infill panels, and peeled timber logs as columns to verandas and covered walkways; a low-tech, “as found” language – an economical version of the Smithsons’ elevated walkways at Sheffield. (Goad, 'Bringing It All Home.'). He abandoned all of the unnecessary ornaments that the Europeans had being proposing but just leaving the most “useful” design for his architecture.

While Robin Boyd can be introduced as a Melbourne architect who helped to shape up Australian architectural nationalism, there is another local Architect contributed a lot about shaping up the Melbourne city style and Melbourne architectural identities. Who is Harold Desbrowe Annear.

Modernist historians are hostile to style. Before the advent of modern style, they shaped a vision of history like a series of stylistic periods; Boyd is a typical local example, but Pevsner and. Summerson could. Also, be mentioned. Nevertheless, stylistic categories, as organizing .paradigms, are still determining architectural scholarship. Edquist's book explains that genres such as Arts, Crafts or Spanish Mission are not. interchangeable; they seem to be equivalent is only because they appeared as instances of historically-based style, and hence concealed their architectural specificity. and temporal significance. Each genre provides a series of resources and techniques interjected within shifts. in .design interests and political and .cultural transformations.

Therefore, it seems appropriate that Annear's three praised houses at. Eaglemont in 1903 deployed. The techniques of the 'Arts and Crafts' style which organize certain local conditions. The houses capitalize on site gradients to create discontinuities between the floors and elevations, aligning the buildings to landscape views. Since Eaglemont is close to Heidelberg, Edquist is allowed to situate the work within the Heidelberg School's terms: a rural myth accelerated after Melbourne's devastating financial crash in 1888. The half-timbered and roughcast idiom of Arts and Crafts techniques, the associations with pseudo-medievalism, and the emphasis on chimneys and fireplaces as symbols of domesticity consolidated the home as a semi-rural style. The utilization of particular sources was always directed and sieved through contemporary demands.

Conclusion

Other examples at the same period also showed the skillfulness of planning and the basic simplicity of external assembling. However, probably because of the intensified health problems and the possible pressure from clients who are stuck on their fixed ideas on architecture, applied ornamentation reappeared in his work.

Bibliography

  1. Boyd, Robin. The Australian Ugliness. Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company, 2012.
  2. Goad, Philip. 'Bringing It All Home'. Fabrications 25, no. 2 (2015): 176-209. doi:10.1080/10331867.2015.1046412.
  3. Hogben, Paul. 'NATIONALISM IN AUSTRALIAN ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY, 1890–1920: A Discourse Analysis'. Architectural Theory Review 5, no. 2 (2000): 94-107. doi:10.1080/13264820009478403.
  4. Raisbeck, Peter. 'Architecture Or Antiarchitecture'. Fabrications 21, no. 1 (2012): 89-107. doi:10.1080/10331867.2012.10739937.  
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