Tell Him He’s Dreaming: The architect’s drawing in postwar Melbourne

Yvette Putra
2015 Conference

Although there is much written about architects’ drawings from critical, historical, and theoretical standpoints, there has not yet been any significant discussion of these ideas in relation to the drawings which were produced in Melbourne in the decades following World War II. This absence is all the more evident because this was a dynamic, experimental, and polemical milieu, which saw the flourishing of such icons as Robin Boyd, Gregory Burgess, and Maggie Edmond and Peter Corrigan. Therefore, these drawings are in need of a contextual analysis, in order to consider the role of the architect and practice in their production; the shifts in their viewership, from client and competition, to publication and exhibition; as well as the corresponding shifts in their status, from a communication and marketing tool, to socio-cultural artefact.

Furthermore, these drawings need to be analysed through an interpretive lens, so their compositional and experiential aspects, such as the use of diverse projection techniques and media, in addition to the depiction of the architecture and its environment, may be examined. This paper, as part of a PhD research project, aims to address some of these issues, by considering drawings in non-digital media by well-known Melburnian architects. In contributing to knowledge of the architecture of Melbourne in the postwar era, this research project underscores the capacity to understand the architecture of a particular place and time, along with its wider context, through analyses of its architects’ drawings.

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About the author

Yvette Putra is a PhD candidate at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, where she is researching, under the supervision of Associate Professors Greg Missingham and Hannah Lewi, architects’ drawings in postwar Melbourne. She previously studied architecture at the same faculty, and completed a Master of Design (Heritage) under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Miles Lewis. Her areas of interest are the history and theory of architecture and urban planning, particularly of Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and she has taught extensively in these areas at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.