Thursday, 29 December 2011

Landmarks: Australian Modernist Architecture


The principle of "form follows function" was a touchstone for modernist architects. Taking root in architecture in the early part of the 20th century, modernism signaled a new turn, where design was based on a building's purpose rather than on the styles of the pattern book.

Ornamentation was also seen as unnecessary, so the buildings featured strong lines, bold forms and clean design. This was the machine age, and technological advancements brought new materials and methods to buildings and construction.

Australia enjoyed increased prosperity post-war and by the l950s consumerism thrived and a higher standard of living was available to many. This new-found sense of confidence was reflected in its architecture. Therefore   Australia Post represented  this changes into the stamp series  which depicts the chosen four monumental building, Former ICI House, Academic of Science, Council House, and Sydney Opera House, on July 10, 2007.

 
Former ICI House, Melbourne
 
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The first half of the 20th century saw some innovative new building projects in Australia, especially during the inter-war period. Sydney and Melbourne were the main centers for experimentation in design, and the city of Canberra one of the most ambitious design and building projects. But the social and economic changes that came with the end of World War II saw modernism embraced by the wider Australian public in a way that it hadn't been previously.


 
Academy of Science, Canberra

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The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) was founded in 1954 by a group of distinguished Australians, including Australian Fellows of the Royal Society of London.  The Academy is modelled after the Royal Society and operates under a Royal Charter; as such it is an independent body, but has government endorsement. The Academy Secretariat is in Canberra, at the Shine Dome.
The objective of the Academy is to promote science. It does so through a range of activities, including recognizing outstanding contributions to science by issuing awards, education and public awareness though a variety of media, contributing to the formation of science policy, and creating opportunities for international scientific exchange.

 
Council House, Perth
Architectural design in Australia was influenced by a range of factors, including the arrival of migrant architects from ware-torn Europe, the new focus on American culture and increased access to education, travel and design publications.

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Council House is a 13-storey office building set beside Stirling Gardens on St Georges Terrace in Perth, Western Australia. The 47.9-metre  building was designed by Howlett and Bailey Architects and opened by The Queen in 1963 after Perth hosted the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. For most of its history, it has served as the headquarters for the City of Perth.

Built in a modernist style, the building has been the subject of vigorous public debate about its heritage value. Some parties, such as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, consider the building to be an important example of modernist architecture in the city, whilst others consider it ugly.

Council House is constructed from concrete-encased steel frame, with lifts and service rooms located at its eastern end and a fire escape stairwell at its western end.Level 9 houses the distinctive circular Council Chamber, which features wood paneling and has been restored to largely its original state in the 1990s refurbishment (by contrast to most of the other levels of the building).

The building is almost completely clad with glass, which led to criticism about its excessive air conditioning costs. The glass exterior of the building has T-shaped white sun-breakers superimposed in an alternating pattern across the building, coated with fine mosaic tiles. With the newly-enclosed top floor, the building now has 13 levels above ground.


Sydney Opera House

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The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts center in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957. Utzon received the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honor, in 2003

The Sydney Opera House is situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sits at the northeastern tip of the Sydney central business district (the CBD), surrounded on three sides by the harbour (Sydney Cove and Farm Cove) and neighboured by the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Sydney Opera House is a modern expressionist design, with a series of large precast concrete "shells",each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metre  radius, forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium. The building covers 1.8 hectares of land and is 183 metres long and 120 metres wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 metres below sea level.
The roof structures of the Sydney Opera House are   in fact not shells in a strictly structural sense, but are instead precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs. The shells are covered in a subtle chevron pattern with 1,056,006 glossy white- and matte-cream-colored Swedish-made tiles from Höganäs AB, though, from a distance, the shells appear a uniform white.

The Sydney Opera House provides a venue for many performing arts companies including the four key resident companies Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and presents a wide range of productions on its own. It is also one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, with more than seven million people visiting the site each year, 300,000 of whom take a guided tour.

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