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Architecture: arrival of modernism

Arthur Baldwinson

Arthur Baldwinson, born in Kalgoorlie in 1908, trained as an architect at The Gordon Institute of Technology in Geelong. After winning the RVIA Silver Medal he travelled to London where he worked with Australian expatriate Raymond MacGrath and later Maxwell Fry. His fervent belief in modernism influenced his earliest designs and he described his own work as being "in the real spirit of modern architecture" (Arthur Baldwinson diary 1934).


On returning to Australia in 1936 he worked in both Sydney and Melbourne before establishing his own practice in 1938 where the boldness of his designs continued. During the war years he closed his practice and was employed by the Department of Aircraft Production where he designed the Beaufort House, Australia's first prefabricated house. After the war he recommenced his practice, with a number of different partners, and in 1956 Baldwinson, Booth and Peters won the Sulman Medal.

Baldwinson was inspired by modernism from his earliest designs. He looked to contemporary modernist principles and the theories of Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus. He became convinced that new building techniques allowed the architect to create original forms, cleansed of surface ornament and free from historical style. His perspectives demonstrate both his skill as an architectural delineator, and his determination to introduce a dynamic, modernist style to Australian houses. Known as 'the artist's architect' he designed houses for William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Douglas Annand, and Max Dupain.

The Library holds over 3,500 architectural drawings of this influential architect's work including residences, hotels, exhibition designs, industrial and commercial buildings over the period from 1918 to 1969.

> Learn more about the work of Arthur Baldwinson on Sydney's upper North Shore

Baldwinson's architectural photos

View a selection of photographs of residential properties designed by Arthur Baldwinson, including the house he designed for renowned photographer Max Dupain.


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