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This book tells the story of the architects and buildings that have defined Australia's architectural culture since the founding of the modern nation through Federation in 1901. That year marked the beginning of a search for city forms and better buildings to accommodate the realities of Australian life and to express an emerging distinctive and, eventually, confident Australian identity. While Sydney and Melbourne were the settings for many of the major buildings, all states and territories developed architectural traditions based on distinctive histories and climates. This book covers the flowering of these many variants, from the bid to create a model city in Canberra, through the stylistic battles that opened a space for modernism, to the idealism of postwar reconstruction and beyond to the new millennium. It reveals a vibrant and influential culture, at its best when it matches a civic idealism with the sensuality of a country of stunning light and landscapes.
`In this outstanding book, Harry Margalit explores how the history of Australian architecture is also the history of Australian society, and vice-versa. He recounts key events and complex ideas with clarity, shining a light on essential points, but never omitting `the story behind the story'. An engaging narrator who is also an excellent scholar, Margalit leads us through the past and into the future, showing us why architecture continues to matter.'
- Tom Heneghan, Professor of Architectural Design, Tokyo University of the Arts
`With the acumen of a cultural archaeologist, Harry Margalit unravels the state of architecture caught among the myriad forces of class interest, nation-building geopolitics, and above all allegories of continuity and change. A first-class account of the history of architecture in Australia.' - Gevork Hartoonian, Professor of History of Architecture, University of Canberra