Post-war modernism by Belinda Fraser

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I have decided to do a series of images focused on my favourite architectiral style – Post war modernism, particularly, regional modernism.

Typically, the modernist style encompassed the following – simple, yet striking geometric forms combined with decorative effects such as non-structural curtain walls of glass, aluminium, textured concrete, stone, and cut-out concrete blocks, marble, mosaic tiles, and solid wood.

I think that it is unfortunate that many view this style of architecture and design as insignificant, featureless and even insignificant. However, I argue that modernist buildings aspired each to be a monument on its own… Unfortunately, when discussing the style, and my love of it with people, no one has yet been able to give me a genuine reason for their dislike of the style. I have come to assume that people, those who dislike this style, are, in general, put off by the ability upon which this style of architecture is able to stand alone and bask in its simplified glory, without the traditional ornate and intricate adornments upon which an exemplary and historically significant piece of architecture is typically judged.

Merit should be awarded to the designers of the modernist structures which dot our suburban landscape, firstly, for their magnificent interplay of vastly different materials, and secondly, their ability to use striking and simple geometric shapes and simple floor plans.

I have recently purchased a house, built in the hey day of regional australian modernism – 1963. It was designed by Local wagga Wagga architect SJ O’Halloran, for his brother, and to this day, maintains many of the original 1960’s features. Those house structure itself is quite simple. Geometric shapes dominate the house. A simple roofline and large glass curtain wall at the front are typical of the modernist style. But what makes, my house stand apart is the use of a steel screen wall at the front. The screen, whilst currently painted a hideous shade of yuck, is made from a series of stylized diamond shapes, and affixed to an oblique brick feature wall. To balance the hard geometric lines, unusually, the architect had commissioned an abstract mosaic mural to be placed on the same plane as the steel screen, this has a somewhat softening effect on the geometric nature of the structure. The abstract, utilises bold colours, and the abstract design is usually greeted with a ‘what is that’ or an ‘I hope you are going to get rid of that!’… I believe it is an abstract of teh surounding landscape of rivers, gum trees and mountains… but like with any abstract – who knows.

I have been attempting to research further the design of my house, and have a feeling that my mural may have been designed my artist/sculpter Bim Hilder, who, in the same year designed a mural on the front local Wagga Civic Theatre… but that is yet to be confirmed…

Thanks for reading and I hope you like my series. Btw, is being shot using TTV, with a camera from the era.

Comments

  • Col  Finnie
    Col Finnieover 5 years ago

    How weird? Featured in 2 separate groups and the silence on the shot here. RB is an odd place sometimes.

  • Belinda Fraser
    Belinda Fraserover 5 years ago

    yep. I think it might be that most people are still ashamed of actually thinking that 60’s modernism is simply AWESOME!!

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