Feature Article - Significant Tasmanian architecture of the 20th century
Contributed by Norma Calder, Royal Australian Institute of Architects
Some examples of early 20th century buildings include the GPO, the National Mutual Life building and the Carnegie Library, all designed by Alan Walker. Other notable buildings were the 1911 Henry Jones IXL Building, which was among the first reinforced concrete structures in Australia; the 1911 Hobart City Hall, a competition-winning design by R. N. Butler; the 1915 Heritage House in Victoria Street Hobart; the 1911 Launceston Examiner and Express Building; and the 1914 Mowbray Grandstand designed by A. H. Masters.
In the 1920s James Earle and Bernard Walker were involved in the development of the Cadbury Estate. Other buildings designed in this period included the ABC Broadcast House (formally Bursary House) at 22 Elizabeth Street, a fine example of glazed terracotta facade construction; the Campbell Street Primary School in Hobart and St Finn Barrs School in Launceston.
Early ‘Modern’ architecture was pursued in the 1930s by both Colin Philp and David Hartley Wilson; the original Wrest Point Hotel and Sunray Flats in Davey Street are two examples.
This era produced a new scale of buildings including the Hydro Electric Commission building, the T&G and CML Insurance company buildings, the Royal Hobart Hospital and the State Government Offices. Holyman House and the Star Theatre in Launceston are further fine examples of inter-war art deco.
S. W. T. Blythe emerged as one of the State’s most influential architects of the 20th century. In 1937 he designed Ogilvie High School and in 1944 the Goulburn Street School. In the 1950s, J. Esmond Dorney expressed an individual style in buildings such as Snow’s Dry Cleaning in Glenorchy, the Pius X Church in Taroona and numerous houses in Sandy Bay.
The State Library was constructed in 1960 by the Public Works Department, and during the 1960s Hartley Wilson and Dirk Bolt completed Christ College Residential Units in Sandy Bay, Murray Street State Offices and the Cat and Fiddle Arcade in Hobart.
A commercial office boom in the early 1970s led to the construction of the MLC, TGIO and Lands Buildings. High rise spread to the suburbs with Empress Towers and, in 1973 Wrest Point Casino, designed by Roy Grounds. In the late 1970s and early 1980s notable buildings included the Hobart Animal Hospital and the Banks Paton Building designed by Heffernan Nation Rees Viney; the Rokeby Fire Station, designed by Howroyd & Forward; and the Crown Mill complex in Launceston, designed by Glenn Smith Associates.
Notable buildings in the 1990s included the Lake St Clair Park Centre designed by Eastman Heffernan Walch & Button; Pipers Brook Winery designed by Robert Morris-Nunn; and Ken Latona's ecologically sustainable tourist development at the Friendly Beaches, which won a national citation for ecologically sustainable buildings. Winning architects of a triennial award in the 1990s have included Eastman Heffernan Walch & Button for a house in Taroona, Barry McNeil for a house at Kettering, and Forward Viney and Partners for their copper-clad Furmage/Forward House at Sandy Bay. In 1996, the Torquil Canning House, a small stone house at Fern Tree, designed by Jacob Allom Wade, received a national commendation.
Award-winning examples of recycled buildings and conservation include the Penitentiary Chapel and Criminal Courts designed by the Architects Alliance, the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music designed by Forward Viney Woollan and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in Launceston designed by Bush Parkes Shugg & Moon.