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Essay on The Australian Style of Architecture and Harry Seidler’s Influence

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When first getting off of the plane at Sydney’s international airport, there was a familiar ambience that seemed to float around the series of rooms and halls to get to the exit. The airport seemed just like any other with the terminal, customs, and baggage claims. It’s when I walked outside that I noticed an unfamiliar, but refreshing, sense of place. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it at first. It might have been the jetlag, or just being tired from the long flight from America, but I definitely knew something was different about the architecture in Australia compared to other places I have studied about in America, such as Chicago.
The next day, I went exploring, trying to figure out what was different about Sydney. Of course everyone around the world knows about the famous Opera House in the harbor but there was something different with the commercial building around the CBD.
In this essay I will discuss what I’ve learned about Australian architecture, a brief history, and most of all, a major influence to the Australian style, Harry Seidler. Australia is a country that has only been around almost 100 years, a short time compared to other countries like America that has been around for almost 200 years. With Australia being a young country, it’s easy to see that it is still discovering the Australian style. In 1890 the architect James Izett and Howard Joseland raised the question, ‘What, in the first place, must guide us in the development of an Australian type (Johnson 1980, p. 2)?’ Both seemed to believe that climate was the answer. Another man named James Green thought that public and urban buildings should be seen as one style and domestic architecture as another. A popular view was that the old, ‘conservative’ Bri...


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... Government 2008, Modern Australian Architecture, viewed 21 November 2011, .
Australian Government 2010, Australian Architecture, viewed 4 October 2011, .
Johnson, DL 1980, Australian Architecure 1901 - 51, Sydney University Press, Sydney.
Lumby, R 2006, Harry Seidler 1923 - 2006, viewed 4 October 2011, .
Saunders, A 2000, Modern Australian Architecture & the Meaning of Gardens, viewed 21 November 2011, .
Vulker, J 1990, Studying Australian Architecture, National Capital Printing, Canberra.
Wikipedia 2011, Architecture of Australia, viewed 4 October 2011, .



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