alistair knox : an integrated approach to landscape + architecture


Abstract

Author: Clair Lee

This project examines the contribution of Alistair Knox (1912-1986) to the development of an integrated approach to built form in the Australian landscape. Knox is renowned for his environmental building work in the Eltham area of Victoria during the second half of the twentieth century. This work responded to a unique set of circumstances involving postwar shortages of building materials, the prior history of earth building in the region, the existence and tradition of artistic communities challenging conventional practices, and the search for an appropriate landscape and architectural response to Australian conditions. Knox contributed articles to newspapers and magazines, gave numerous speeches and wrote three books, which describe his environmental building philosophy and the Eltham community.

The organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin are considered as possible influences on the development of Knox's integrated architecture and landscape approach, along with the landscape qualities of Eltham, and the unique artistic community living there. The work of Knox is also considered against the Australian post World War 2 climate of change, characterised by a growing appreciation of Australian plants and concern for the environment.

This research comprised a content analysis of the three books written by Knox to distinguish his influences, values and philosophies. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to Knox's impact on the development of an Australian landscape design ethos.


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