Tell Him He’s Dreaming: The Polemical Drawing in Postwar Melbourne

Putra, Yvette ORCID: 0000-0001-8219-1872 (2017) Tell Him He’s Dreaming: The Polemical Drawing in Postwar Melbourne. PhD thesis, University of Melbourne.

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Using the theories of Robin Evans and of Marco Frascari, this research identifies and describes a new kind of architects' drawings, namely polemical drawings, which are characterised by their communication of architects' ideologies, and skilful use of entourage, with an emphasis on human entourage. This research arose out of the pervasive and persistent appeal of architects' drawings, especially hand-drawings. By showing the human hand, they have become, in recent decades, subject to fetishisation, and it has been argued that hand-drawings are better tools for design thinking than digital drawings. More importantly, architects' drawings on the whole present themselves powerfully as artefacts, where they encapsulate not only architecture of a particular place and time, but also cultural, historical, political, and social aspects. Polemical drawings are notable in their articulation of the inherent qualities of architects' drawings, such as cosmopoiesis (world-making) and storytelling, to convey their polemics to viewers. This research focuses on the context of Melbourne in the decades following World War II's end, and the polemical drawings by William Hardy Wilson, Robin Boyd, and Edmond and Corrigan, where Hardy Wilson is significant as a proto-polemicist in Australian architecture, and Boyd and Edmond and Corrigan are, respectively, icons of Australia's Modern and Postmodern movements. Through reading these architects' polemical drawings, this research considers use of polemical drawings in Australia and Melbourne, where these drawings largely evince twentieth-century architects' shifting attitudes towards suburbia and its 'bad' taste lifestyle, and where these attitudes are underpinned by questions of authenticity and identity in Australian architecture. This research shows the extent to which polemical drawings are engaged with their context, as seen in the reciprocal relationship between polemical drawings and postwar Melbourne, and how postwar Melbourne was demonstrably compelling for the promulgation of polemical drawings. With consideration of the potential of architects' drawings as artefacts, reading polemical drawings shows itself to be a novel and useful tool towards understanding or revealing more about their context. This research proposes that the reading of polemical drawings would be a strong addition to historians' analytical repertoires, as approaches similar to this research may be applied to other places and times.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: This thesis is available open access from the University of Melbourne's institutional repository offical URL
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Yvette Putra
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2023 10:45
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:23

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