Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chemistry Building - University of Tasmania #2

From the old photographs that document the new buildings going up at the Sandy Bay Camps, the Engineering Building was one of the first, being built about the same time as the Engineering Block.

This building employs the iconic style of the period, the glass curtain wall design, a first for Hobart.  This is apparent as you enter towards the main entrance.  Viewing the main entrance from the facade, the building takes on an L shape and the impressive glass wall design is what you first view.  The building has been built in yellow brick, of which I have been told was a prerequisite of building many of the buildings on campus.  The cream bricks have been used to great visual effect within the glass wall, showing through the transparent blue tinted glass.

The main entrance is impressive and 3 concrete columns certainly a grand and make a statement.  The entrance is built from glass and aluminum, creating a contrast between the 'heavy' feel of bricks and the 'lightness that glass and aluminum gives. 

Whilst aluminum may not be given a second thought today as a design tool, after the War the use of the material was cutting edge and replaced the more expensive steel frame windows that were popular in the inter War-period. These buildings like many other designed after the War had constrains on them such as access to resources and keeping costs to a minimum were always a main attribute in Government buildings where style went up against efficient use of tax payer money.  Advertisements throughout the 1950s and 1960s promoting the use of aluminum and glass doors and windows are immense. 
Whilst post war Architecture is under-appreciated, realising that the use of innovative materials such as aluminum and glass are the key materials in post-war architecture, much like the steel frame windows and curved bricks of the Art Deco period.


  1. I think we too often don't pay enough attention to the buildings around us. I guess we need a bit of time/distance to really appreciate some of the interesting stuff we have in our cities. It's not all about sandstone, convicts and Federation style...

    If you're ever up Newnham way, I had a good look at the Alanvale TAFE/Polytech campus and it's an interesting mix of modernist buildings.

  2. There is indeed an immense range of Modernist design that needs to be acknowledged as part of Tasmania's heritage, because as you point it it's not just about sandstone. History doesn't stop at 1899!


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 www.tryanphotos.com 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 www.tryanphotos.com 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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