Phillip Goad, Design of homes in the Post-war period
Design of homes in the Post-war period
Interview with Phillip Goad
Filmed by Tribal Media
Contributor: Heritage Victoria
What house is that? Interactive, created by Heritage Victoria.
Phillip Goad provides an overview of design in the Post-war period - the introduction of open plan, of designing to let in light, and other features of Post-war homes.
To learn more about Post-war architecture, Click Here.
Professor Phillip Goad is Director of the Melbourne School of Design and Professor of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Professor Philip Goad is internationally known for his research and is an authority on modern Australian architecture. Philip has worked extensively as an architect, conservation consultant, and curator. Philip is an expert on the life and work of Robin Boyd, and has held visiting scholar positions at Columbia University, Bartlett School of Architecture (London) and UCLA (Los Angeles). Philip is a past editor of Fabrications, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, and is a contributing editor to Architecture Australia.
Hello, I'm Phillip Goad. I'm Professor of Architecture here in the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne.
Architecture is one of those wonderful things to teach, because building and designing is one of those great optimistic activities, and so architecture I think is just a fantastic thing to be teaching, and to take students out to see what's being built around us.
I guess I always am excited by seeing buildings which excite me. And so, I have a passion for buildings, and, in particular, houses, and I never cease to be amazed at how excited I am going to see, in particular, really fabulous recent Australian houses and, in particular, those of the post-war period.
I think the post-war period was really interesting because it was a time - this is the war, the war years - were essentially times of great hardship, rationing, shortages of building materials, shortages of labour and the like.
And because of that, after the war, there was an incredible sense of optimism, and I think a capacity of sort of can-do and experiment.
And, in the architectural world, this meant that young architects were free to experiment with exciting new shapes and, in particular, exciting new ways of actually describing how a family might live in the suburbs.
At the same time, you have the rise of speculative home builders, who were also interested in taking advantage of mechanised building techniques, new materials and so on.
So it's a really exciting time, and a number of us have talked about it being an unfinished experiment. There were so many things that were going on in the '50s that we haven't taken advantage of.
And I think what is quite extraordinary about that post-war period is that many of the things - like plenty of natural sunlight, the open-plan - have continuing relevance, and also too, at that time, you had very exciting things, like paint companies developing a whole new range of paint colours and people being, if you like, after World War II, being prepared to embrace things like sunlight and outdoor living.
Well, if we describe the style of the post-war architect-designed house, a flat roof was all the rage or the butterfly roof or the skillion roof. And this was a radical challenge, if you like, to the dominance of the hipped roof, the hipped terracotta tile roof.
And because, after World War II, there was a shortage of building materials, like brick and clay, it meant that there was a justified release for not having to use brick or terracotta tiles.
And so, you tended to have expansive areas of glass, unadorned wall surfaces, bright colours and flat roofs. It was really the house moving into ideas of abstraction and another... different, new images for what the house might look like.
In a city like Melbourne, you had wonderful opportunity to build these new houses in new subdivisions. In places like Beaumaris, Moorabbin, you do a sort of circumference around Melbourne - Ringwood, Box Hill, particularly in the Eastern suburbs, and suburbs like North Balwyn, Bulleen as well, are the great sort of post-war expansion areas for suburbs.
I think the influence in that post-war growth of subdivisions was that it was accompanied by the building of new schools, new kindergartens.
Previously, if you sent your children to kindergarten in the '30s, you were not terribly well-off. So the whole rise of the middle-class community building, like the kindergarten, the local swimming pool... to a degree, the maternal health and welfare centre, had an enormous expansion, the local library, after World War II.
So those, if you like, new civic buildings accompanied these... post-war expansion of the suburbs. And it was a pretty exciting time. And, in particular, in the '60s when Australia was more affluent, then these post-war houses expand in size.
You have the addition of the rumpus room, the playroom. The idea of the ensuite is something that parents can now afford and want, and the TV room became part of everyday living.
As opposed to immediately after the war where there were restrictions on house size until 1952. You couldn't build a house above 10 or 12 squares.
So, as the '50s progressed, as Australia became richer, and into the '60s, you have this growth of material culture.
Chadstone gets built in 1962.
The growth of the suburban shopping centres as well aids this incredible suburban expansion.