Previously...on North Quay

When I was a boy and caught the bus from town, one of the first stops heading home from King George Square was North Quay. There, high above the river and beneath a canopy of established trees (mainly Moreton Bay Figs as I recall) were a long line of bus shelters...the concrete ones that started life as air raid shelters.

On reading a little about the history of these shelters, I find that they were proposed after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour and their subsequent bombing of Darwin in World War II.

The reinforced concrete roof of the shelters cantilevered from a line of central columns and a non load-bearing brick wall wrapped around the perimeter. After the war, this wall was removed leaving a legacy of elegant shelters for protection in peacetime from sun and rain only.

All that remains today are a few shelters in isolated pockets around town. The North Quay group were, for me, the most memorable ... primal structures on a primal site ... just big trees clinging to a steep bank above the river ... not a freeway in sight. I felt the shelters' elegance could be most strongly evoked by looking up at their cantilevered forms from the river.

'Seen from below' brought to mind a Marion Mahony drawing which I have always liked... the one she made of the Hardy House, (inset) done while she was working in Frank Lloyd Wright's office. She drew that house looking up from Lake Michigan. I've visited the Hardy House...after all, it's just a walk down the road from the Johnson Wax Building. I shuffled down the grassy bank beside the house to the lake shore to approximate Marion's point of view. To duplicate it precisely, I'd have had to, as they often said in Chicago, 'go jump in the lake.'

Marion's composition had been heavily influenced by Japanese prints ... Wright had an extensive collection. On another of her drawings Wright made a notation with characteristic chutzpah ... 'drawn by Mahony after FLlW and Hiroshige.'

Taking my cue from Marion's composition, there is a little inadvertent irony in my print...a decorative 'Japanese-like' view from below of structures built originally anticipating Japanese attack from above!

Hand coloured       225 x 500
Edition of 40         $540