When asked to make a lino cut print celebrating one hundred years of publishing architecture in Australia, I decided to trace a thread running through this period that was of particular interest to me. I also decided that it would be a more strongly felt piece if I had a personal connection with the buildings making the thread. The fact that they are all of domestic scale is probably a large part of the reason that they struck such a personal chord. Much experimentation is done at this scale before the architects head out into wider waters.
The top image is of Robin Dods' own house in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm. I used to live just around the corner in 1969 in an old schoolhouse and I was there the day it went under the auctioneer's hammer. Shortly after that it went under the demolisher's hammer to be replaced by a very ordinary seven-storey block of flats.
Next down is a Californian Bungalow, also in Brisbane, that met the same fate. Its architect is unknown to me.
It was drawn to my attention by a friend in the early 70s, when it too was having an 'open day' in preparation for an auction.
In the middle is Eddie Oribin's studio in Cairns.
I stumbled upon it in 1966 as a second year student, was 'gobsmacked' but too reticent to knock on the door. I'm yet to meet Eddie.
Second from the bottom is a Russell Hall house built on Camp Island off the Queensland coast near Bowen.
Russell and I started architectural studies in 1965. I visited the island with an awards jury leaving the mainland from one of the many makeshift fishing shanty villages that dot the coast and flying back home with the mud crabs we bought at the village crawling around the floor of the small plane.
At the bottom and by way of signing the piece, I've included a recent house of mine, at Brookfield in Brisbane's south-west.
The Dods' house was designed with an awareness of the English 'Free Style' seen in magazines like The Studio at the time. The bungalow was no doubt influenced by magazines like The Craftsman; a popularizing of Arts and Crafts values. The Oribin studio shows a Wright influence as did many works around Australia in those middle years of the century. I was given Eddie Oribin's January 1938 Architectural Forum (a complete issue of Wright's then current projects) by a friend who bought it in a second-hand bookshop in Uralla. Russell Hall's Camp Island house was given the award that year and was published in Australian Architects 5 and my Brookfield house is about to get a pool filter, shed and some paving before settling in for a happy life I hope.
The thread I mentioned connecting these five buildings is, I think, that they fall outside the general understanding of the term Modern Movement. I'd like to expand on that notion at some future date but it made me wonder that if you can get through a whole century without it, what it might have been like if the movement hadn't happened at all.