Saturday, January 28, 2012

J Minty & Co Sheet Metalworkers - Mid 20th Century gem

Some time ago I posted about this wonderful building in Hobart, mentioning its wonderful 1950s designed glass curtain wall.   Another impressive feature that still exists is the neon sign of the company that still runs out of this building. This is a rare treat to find the original neon font still in-tact.  Check out the concrete lipped overhang too, this was used extensively in many buildings of the period in Hobart.  It's small details like these that combine to tell a story of mid century design, and part of our history. 

This building is a joy to photograph, standing alone on a busy street and is a rate in-tact building with it's glass curtain wall, concrete lip overhang and wonderful period neon typeface. Everything is just so functional and proportional it makes me want to drool!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Australian Modern" publication to feature Henty House & Civic Square, Launceston

Some exciting news - a new publication is about to be released titled Australian Modern - Mid 20th Century Design, which will be released nationally in February.

I was invited to produce a story with accompanying photographs relating to the subject of Tasmanian Modernism. My feature story chronicles the history surrounding the Brutalist landmark Henty House and Launceston Civic Square in Northern Tasmania through my research and my photography.

Publisher and creative director of the new publication Chris Osborne writes: "With a resurging interest in all things mid-century, Australian Modern offers a unique retrospective of Australian mid 20th century architecture, design and cultural history. Australian Modern examines the projects, people and style of the period, enlightening readers about the mid-century modern movement and its talented and often overlooked designers. The informative range of topics includes Googie architecture, French fashion, the Goggomobil and Meadmore furniture, also mid 20th century suburban design, and the work of architects of the era. Australian Modern is an independent publication, designed, edited and printed in Brisbane"

An accompanying website has just been launched (one of my black and white photographs of Henty House features on the main page) and contains more information of where to get your copy of Australian Modern via stockists or online.
The landmark Henty House will by given national exposure in Australian Modern via a story and series photographs I produced for the publication.   

You’re invited to come and celebrate the launch of Australian Modern. Meet the Australian Modern design team and the contributors, and get your very own copy of Australian Modern ‘hot off the press’ at the various launch events around the country.

Mid 20th Century Design
ISBN: 9780980476729 (pbk)
68 Pages RRP $16

Adelaide Launch: Willunga Art Space, Friday 27 January, High Street. Willunga Ludwik & Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz Exhibition Contact: Adam Dutkiewicz for details

Brisbane Launch: Saturday 28 January 8pm, 9 Burchell Street Carina
Bookings and tickets 07 3395 4571

Melbourne Launch: Outre Gallery, Friday 2 March from 7pm, 249 Elizabeth Street. Melbourne
Bookings through Outre Gallery
Outre Gallery facebook event

Melbourne In-Store: Angelucci 20th Century, Saturday 3 March from 11am to 1pm,
113 Smith Street. Fitzroy  T: 03 9415 8001

Sydney Launch: To be advised (Possibly Thursday 26 April)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Long Beach Bathing Pavilion heritage listed

Modernist Icon - Long Beach Bathing Pavilion heritage listed
The Long Beach Bathing Pavilion designed in 1962 has been recognised for it's heritage values. Located in the Hobart suburb of Sandy Bay it's been officially listed on the has been listed on the Tasmanian heritage register.  Architect, Dirk Bolt. Bolt designed many mid-20th century buildings in Hobart, including 10 Murray Street Government Office tower block approved for demolition.

The use of concrete block in designing the Bathing Pavilion was a typical trait in his designs, evident in several of his other works I've documented photographically around Hobart and in Canberra. The interior of the building is home to Surf Life Saving Tasmania and public toilets.  The original design was to see the building have 2 levels, with the upper deck having being used a restaurant.  The facade of the bathing pavilion has a series of pre-cast concrete panels with abstract illustrations designed by artist, Ron Sinclair. The panels were created on-site, having been cast on the beach fronting the Bathing pavilion

The Brustlist style Bathing Pavilion stands as an important and rate example of its kind in Tasmania. I have done an extensive photographic study of Bolt's designs around Hobart, stay tuned for upcoming posts on some of the wonderful designs I've captured through the lens of his works.

The views from the Long Beach Bathing Pavilion overlooking the River Derwent (on a not so inviting day!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tasmania Police Headquarters - Hobart

Tasmania Police Headquarters Building
The Tasmania Police Headquarters circa late 1970s early 1980s is located in Hobart is one of several multi-story buildings dotted around the Hobart CBD.  Whilst Hobart high-rise buildings don't have the height factor compared to other capital cities around Australia the city nonetheless holds several interesting examples and as Tasmania's population is only around 500,000. One could say that for the size of the State office buildings that do exist in Hobart are proportional to its population.

The Tasmania Police Headquarters is located in the CBD and such this intersection is often quite busy with cars and pedestrians cluttering the street.  The day I took this photograph road works were being done all along this road and as such I was able to compose several shots and I liked the different visual impact that road works provided in the overall scene.   The lower entrance of the building is clad with marble and sweeps around the corner of the building in a horizontal fashion, which emphasises the vertical  banding of the rest of the building.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top 10 Northern Tasmanian Modernist buildings

As mentioned in my previous post, The Examiner newspaper did a feature story about my photography and passion surrounding the documentation of the period in Tasmania.  They asked for a list of my 10 top buildings of Northern Tasmania.  When I complied the my top 10 list, I did so with a building's social, historical and visual appeal in mind.  It was hard to choose just 10, but here are my personal favourites - in no particular order

Holyman House - Launceston
Holyman House is Launceston’s landmark Art Deco building and demonstrates the skills of Launceston born architect Roy Smith who worked in the firm H.S East and Smith. Smith designed many Launceston and Northern Tasmanian Modernist buildings throughout his career.  Holyman House was originally designed and built for the Holyman family's shipping and airline businesses with the ground floor originally home to National Airways. I love the way Holyman House sweeps around the corner of Brisbane and George Streets and your eye leads upwards to the central finial detail that reminds me of a mast of a ship.

Myer Department Store - Launceston
Originally designed for Cox Brothers Department Store, the Myer building was the tallest commercial retail building in Tasmania at the time of its construction. The size and scale of the building highlight the optimism of state development at a time when material shortages and economic uncertainty existed due to a post Second World War environment. The small tiles that clad the curving central facade are a typical trait of mid 20th century design.

Star Theatre - Invermay
Theatres like the former Star Theater in Invermay were popping up all over Australian cities and towns in the the 1930s.  The former Theatre is significant and rare example of Art Deco streamline design being located in the suburbs, not the CBD. The Star had room for around 250 people and it’s interior layout was lavish and modern housing the latest in seating, lighting and sound reproduction.  

Kings Wharf Wool-sheds and Silos - Inveresk
The abandoned Kings Wharf precinct in Launceston is a fascinating reminder of Launceston’s industrial past.  The wool-sheds with their saw-tooth roofs, so typical of Industrial factories, and the dominating wheat silos standing tall over the Tamar River.  Now sad and neglected, their facades tell the story of the cities once bustling Industrial past. When I take photos of this area, I am constantly reminded of what would have been a busy seaport precinct.  If places like the Silos or Wool-sheds are not reused then part of Launceston’s 20th Century Industrial story and heritage would be lost forever.

Magistrates Court - Launceston
The Magistrates Court is of notable interest as it was one of the first Modernist Court buildings in Tasmania. The main facade is adorned with local Tasmanian granite from Ben Lomand.  This was the first time a major building work had used local granite, prior to this most stone was imported from Interstate.  Local timbers and veneers such as Tasmanian Myrtle were used lavishly throughout the court rooms, halls and floors. The building is an important example of sourcing materials locally and illustrates sustainability practices being used in the mid 20th Century.

Don College - Devonport
Don College is one of Tasmania's largest examples of Brutalist architecture. The College was constructed at a time when many other fine examples of Brutalist architecture were emerging such as Henty House Government Offices in Launceston, Reece House Government Offices in Burnie, City Block in Launceston and 10 Murray Street Government Offices in Hobart. Whilst the College is bold in size and appearence, it’s hidden from the main road, amongst bushland and standing beside the Don River.  There are many wonderful geometric angles at Don College and different textures of concrete patterning that are synonymous with Brustlist design that are always fascinating to view and photograph.

Former Devonport Maternity Hospital - Devonport
The wonderful arching curve of the former Devonport Maternity Hospital cannot be mistaken. Constructed in the early 1960s the hospital brought cutting edge modern design and hospital care to Devonport.  The other major Modernist Government hospital for babies in the Northern Tasmania was the former Queen Victoria Hospital in High Street, Launceston. The former Devonport hospital has been abandoned for many years and this neglect serves as a timely reminder of the wastefulness of such buildings and the failure to imaginatively and adaptively reuse these buildings.      

Campbell Town School - Campbell Town
The Campbell Town State School was designed in the late 1930s and is one of many examples of Modernist schools in Tasmania, designed by S W T Blythe. His works for the Public Works Department were prolific and strikingly Modernist in style. The Campbell Town school stands as a visual reminder of the massive undertaking of building public schools in the early to mid 20th century that occurred throughout Tasmanian towns and cities.

Henty House - Launceston
The construction of Launceston’s Civic Square and its Government buildings was one of the largest public funded projects after the Second World War in Tasmania. A major objective in the creation of the Square was to centralise some 90 Government services that were spread around Launceston. Henty House’s qualities are in the form of it’s geometric shapes and angles as well as the wood grain like textures that have been achieved by sandblasting timber into the precast concrete, creating a rich variety of patterns and textures. Henty House and Civic Square as a whole combine Government services, architecture, art and nature as a functionalist public meeting space within the CBD.

Centrepoint Lane - Launceston
This interesting use of green repetitive tiles and letters spelling “Centrepoint” highlight the clarity and simplicity of Modernist design aesthetic in a way that was intended to originally add some glamour to this back alley. Many buildings from the mid 20th Century period would feature repetitive and abstract tiles, patterns or abstract sculptures. The Centrepoint design is fascinating for it’s visual appeal and exciting too because you have to go out of your way to find it’s location.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Northern Tasmanian Modernism to feature in weekend lifestyle magazine

The Examiner newspaper, based in the Northern city of Launceston contacted me recently to do a feature story about my photography and passion surrounding Tasmanian Art Deco & Modernist architecture and design.  The feature story will be in the Sunday Examiner magazine section of the newspaper this Sunday the 8th January.

Stay tuned for a future post where I show my top 10 Northern Tasmania 20th Century buildings that were published in the magazine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Don College Devonport - Landmark Island Brutalism

Don College is one of Tasmania's largest and most significant Brutalist period buildings.  The staircases create a fortified fortress feel to the design.
Don College is located in the coastal township of Devonport in Northern Tasmania.  It's whereabouts isn't immediately apparent as it's hidden alongside a river, surrounded by bushland.

This school is one of Tasmania's largest examples of Brutalist architecture and is one of the best to be found in Tasmania.  Don College was constructed during the early 1970s, and many other fine examples of Brutalism were emerging in the 60s and 70s in Tasmania including Rosny College, Hobart, Henty House Government Offices in Launceston, Reece House Government Offices in Burnie, City Block in Launceston and 10 Murray Street Government Offices in Hobart.

As you walk down off the main road, and down a series of stairs into Don College, the sheer size and impressive dominance of Don College greets you.  There are so many wonderful geometric angles and different textures of concrete patterning that are synonymous with Brustlist design.

There are several staircases that are able to be viewed externally, allowing the sharp geometric lines of the facade to be broken by the sweeping spiralling pattern of the staircases.. This is one impressive example of Brutalism and I urge anyone with an interest in Modernist 20th Century architecture when visiting the region to check it out.

Happy 2012 and thanks for checking out my blog throughout 2011!

About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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