Bennelong - Sydney Opera House


These portfolios contains Australia architecture and icon drawings and paintings created over the past 25 years representative of a cross-section of Australian architecture and icons.

Architects in Australia have created some of the most unusual and outstanding buildings in the world. Internationally recognised Australian icons include buildings like the Sydney Opera House (architect Jørn Utzon) and the new Parliament House in Canberra (architect Romaldo Giurgola).

Distinctive Australian architecture is also recognisable in the rural icons of ‘the Queenslander’, the ‘wool shed’ and the ‘beach house’ which have developed in response to climate, history, place and identity. Characteristically, these designs used local materials as well as corrugated iron and emphasised space and light as well as a connection to the landscape.

These classic qualities were often sacrificed in the development of the Australian suburbs where 85 per cent of Australians have lived since 1900. Australian architect and critic Robin Boyd once described the Australian suburbs as Australia’s worst failing. Australian architects like Boyd and Roy Grounds have argued for the importance of modern Australian architecture as an expression of a local identity which balanced the ideals of art and architecture against local climate and social realities.

Many of the first buildings in Australia were constructions associated with the immediate needs of the colonies. Port Arthur settlement and Point Puer (juvenile prison) were designed by the convict architect Henry Laing. The Round House in Fremantle, built in 1831 as a gaol, was the first permanent building in the colony of Western Australia.

In Sydney, one of the first permanent buildings was Fort Phillip, built by Governor Phillip in 1804 in the area known as The Rocks. Both a military hospital (1815) [later Fort Street School (1850–1974)] and also the Sydney Observatory (1858) were later built on this site.

Early public buildings in Australia were constructed around the importance of influencing community and civic identity.