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Inter-War Academic Classical c. 1915—C. 1940
|Architectural historians have taken great pains
to record the growth of modern architecture in Europe during the years of
its flowering in the I92OS and I93os, but it must be realised that this
radical new idiom was still very much a minority movement at that time.
Conservative architects and their clients usually agreed that a certain
amount of ‘simplicity’ was desirable in this modern age, but in their hearts
they believed that true architecture had its roots in Greece, Rome and the
Renaissance and that some form of classicism was the only safe port in a
stormy sea of change.
But even if the writing was on the wall, twentieth-century classicism was by no means finished, and it was able to put forward some formidable champions. Edwin Lutyens scored an imperial triumph with the mighty Viceroy’s House at New Delhi; he was universally regarded as the greatest English architect since Wren. And even though Stanford White and Charles Follen McKim were dead before World War I, the American firm of McKim, Mead & White continued as one of the world’s most admired and respected architectural practices. In France, the venerable Ecole des Beaux-Arts continued to hold the flag of classicism high until well after the end of World War II.
Classically based styles abounded in Australia during the 19205 and 19305 (see also INTER-WAR:
GEORGIAN REVIVAL, FREE CLASSICAL, BEAUX-ARTS, STRIPPED CLASSICAL, COMMERCIAL PALAZZO, MEDITERRANEAN and SPANISH MISSION), so Inter- War Academic Classical must be reserved for those buildings which are both serious and correct in their classicism while avoiding the largeness of scale which might tip the scales towards an Inter- War Beaux-Arts classification.
Broadly speaking, designers in the igos and 1930S favoured restraint rather than excess. Hence it is not surprising to find major war memorials in both Melbourne [3801 and Brisbane  that used the sober, dignified Greek Doric order in structures which are remarkable for their strong, clear geometry. The impressive city halls in Brisbane  and Newcastle  tended to follow precedents established in the mid-nineteenth century, where the strong vertical mass of a central tower erupts from a relatively low, ‘quiet’ building and the drama is prevented from getting out of hand by the reassuring familiarity of the classical orders used correctly.
off Macquarie Street
Glebe War Memorial
Shrine of Remembrance, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Vic. Hudson & Wardrop, architects, from 1927. A fusion of Doric ideas from the Parthenon and the ancient Mausoleum at Halicarnassos.
City Hall, Brisbane, Qid. Hall & Prentice, architects, 1929. A dramatic juxtaposition of tall tower and classical base, continuing a Victorian tradition (compare illustration 88).
"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.
|Shrine of Remembrance (Melbourne); completed 1934|
|Brisbane City Hall; opened 1930|
|Shrine of Remembrance. Brisbane. Completed 1930.|