Australian Regional Building

Author: Alistair Knox
Unpublished article

Chapter 1: The Background The insularity of Australia during the nineteenth century produced indigenous style in writing, painting, and architecture. Twentieth-century mobility has given an international inflection to these arts. Whatever this has done for ... read more

Chapter 2: Greenway and Griffin There have been only a few notable architects in Australia who are known by name. There are many who have created buildings of architectural character who are anonymous. Men who have brought a tradition with them and applied it to ... read more

Chapter 3: The verandah Greenway's special gifts of original proportion, relationships of space, and the other matters mentioned earlier set him aside from his contemporaries. But wherever building went on in those days of beginnings, there was a sense of unity ... read more

Chapter 4: The Australian environment Regional building is the art of creating structures that have a sense of inevitability and relationship to their environment. They are not sentimental. They express belief in man and nature. They have the power to move the beholder, ... read more

Chapter 5: The new suburbs The outbreak of the First World War marked the end of the pioneering days. The old gave place to the new with startling rapidity. The present writer was two years old when Germany marched into Belgium. In 1914 the British Expeditionary ... read more

Chapter 6: A new world and a new architecture The passion for a new mechanical way of life rather than the old manual way was partly a carryover from the tremendous mechanisation that occurred in every aspect of life during the war. In part, it was due to the new attitude towards ... read more

Chapter 7: Mud brick No regional designer can afford to overlook earth building as a medium. In the nineteenth century, with the exception of a few very large homesteads, this method was regarded as a sign of poverty. Knox's first mud brick house, 1947 ... read more

Chapter 8: The councillors Montsalvat mud brick. Photo: Alistair Knox The well-known Artists' Colony at Eltham, under the direction of the ingenious and persuasive leadership of Justus Jorgensen, had built an impressive array of adobe and pisé buildings ... read more

Chapter 9: Standard M.S. Method The first stage of the Le Gallienne Downing house 1948 The best early houses I designed and built in earth were the Busst house and the first wing of the LeGallienne Downing house. These were undertaken in 1948 partly because of the ... read more

Chapter 10: The Pyke house Looking back on the building and designing I have done since the war discloses a series of events that follow one another in a strange, systematic manner. I feel certain that the whole pattern is related to a power outside and beyond me ... read more

Chapter 11: New techniques Building techniques started to change shortly after the war. Earth moving came of age. Hand tools were suddenly mechanically operated. The American armed forces brought a new vision of scientific building methods to the Australian ... read more

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