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Inter-War Georgian Revival c. 1915—C. 1940
|By the early i 8gos some of the most
progressive and influential architects in Britain and America had started to
move away from free-ranging eclecticism and to embrace the gentle discipline
of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Georgian style. In Britain,
Norman Shaw showed the way, followed by Ernest Newton and, by the turn of
the century, the great Edwin Lutyens. In the United States, McKim, Mead &
White moved on from the bold, picturesque Shingle style on which their early
reputation had been established and sought to emulate the gracious
architecture of America’s colonial past. By World War I the revived Georgian
style was well established and, especially in Britain, it continued to be
popular throughout the 1920s and 1930s, often being used for houses, blocks
of flats, institutional buildings and commercial structures of modest size.
Many of these essays in the Georgian style were regarded with disdain by
critics and progressive architects on the grounds that they were mindlessly
derivative, retrogressive and dull. It is perhaps reasonable to point out
that, while all kinds of architecture are difficult to do well, Georgian has
the somewhat negative but not inconsiderable virtue of being difficult to do
In Australia, the Inter-War Georgian Revival style began to make its presence felt during the second decade of the twentieth century, largely owing to the efforts of William Hardy Wilson, a Sydney-born architect who on his travels had admired American Colonial architecture in both its original and revived versions and who had almost single-handedly rediscovered and recorded the simple but often subtle virtues of early nineteenth- century architecture in New South Wales and Tasmania (see OLD COLONIAL GEORGIAN and OLD COLONIAL REGENCY). The word Revival forms part of the name of the Inter-War style being described here because, for the first time in this country’s history, an early style of Australia’s own architecture was consciously chosen as the starting point for a twentieth-century idiom.
In the decades before World War lithe advent into the architectural profession of a new phenomenon— the university graduate influenced by the teachings of English academics—helped to establish and spread the influence of Inter-War Georgian Revival by making the style synonymous with upper-middle-class concepts of good taste (see also INTER-WAR MEDITERRANEAN).
While most Inter-War Georgian Revival buildings in Australia are houses and other buildings of essentially domestic scale, the style was also used occasionally for the façades of city office buildings of modest height.
Former Peapes’ store, George Street, Sydney, NSW. Wilson, Neave & Berry, architects, 1923. The Georgian vocabulary elicited with urban scale and excellent proportions.
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
RICHARD APPERLY, ROBERT IRVING, PETER REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLOMON MITCHELL.
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
|Windows of the Albert Hall, Canberra, opened 1928; Georgian Revival|
|Front of the Albert Hall; Georgian Revival|
|Elizabeth Murdoch Building, Victorian College of the Arts. Melbourne|