User:Macrobertson/sandbox

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

MacRobertson Girls’ High School is an all girls state secondary school located on Kings Way, Albert Park, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was named after Sir Macpherson Robertson’s chocolate factory after he donated £100,000 to the state, £40,000 of which was spent to construct the school. Norman Seabrook of Seabrook and Fildes architecture practise, designed the building after winning the state wide design competition with his functional and modern design entry. [1] Constructed in 1934 during centenary celebrations of Victoria, MacRobertson was vital to the progress of modernist architecture in Australia [2] and essential in the strong re-emergence of the state after the economic downturn of the depression.

MacRobertson Girls' High School Main Entry

Description[edit]

MacRobertson Girls' High School's courtyard

The school was zoned out in a functional manner with four different wings comprising of different disciples including classrooms, science rooms, art rooms, and cookery rooms. This allowed for smooth transitional movement between disciples and also created distinct external courtyard areas around the building. [3]

The School's characteristic clock tower with two white rendered vertical strips

The facade of the building comprises “interlocking cubic forms of differing heights” which is offset by the vertical clock tower with white rendered vertical strips. The material Seabrook used were functional while at the same time embracing the typical palette of De Stijl movement by using striking colours of cream brick, red steel framed hopper windows and dark blue glazed brick piers between windows [4]. Internally softer shades of red, blue, yellow, green and black were used [5]. With the use of practical floor finish material such as linoleum for classrooms, terracotta tiles for corridors and granolithic materials for the stairs and services rooms. [6]

Key Influences[edit]

It is believed that the main influence of Seabrook’s design for MacRobertson Girls’ High School was William Dudok Hilversum’s town hall (1923-31) [7] . Both these buildings have similar brickwork, rectilinear interlocking facades, functional planning, open air classrooms, flat roof, industrial aesthetic and a modern interior fitout[8]. The brickwork used in both comprise of two strectchers followed by a header in a Flemish bond with an extra wide and deeply raked horizontal joint which emphasises horizontality [9], while the cream brickwork emphasised shadows. Seabrook selected local Glen Iris Cream bricks at a time when they were only being used sparingly in buildings such as in polychromatic brickwork [10]. Using the cream brick for the entirety of the building was seen as a modernist approach and set a trend for many future buildings in Victoria.

Design Approach[edit]

Red hopper windows with blue tiled piers in between

Seabrook had a strong functional design approach to the design of MacRobertson Girls’ High School. He believed that a “building must look like what it is, be it a town hall or a destructor plan…” [11]. This frame of mind helped in creating the unique and functional design of the building which has had a great impact on Australian architecture. It was the first modernist school constructed in Victoria, at a time when other contemporary schools tended to adopt a variety of Gothic collegiate to Georgian revival style in the design. Robin Boyd described the building as an “evolution of modern architecture” in Australia. [12]


The differing masses of MacRobertson impart proportion and scale to the building [13], while the De Stijl colour of the articulated red steel hopper windows contrast to the blue glazed brick piers and cream brickwork , helping to break up the facade [14]. Steel windows were not common in schools at this point in time and are seen as a modernist and functional approach.

Seabrook also considered the site in his design approach, using native plants to embrace the dry, flat scrubland of south Melbourne [15]. The flagpole and clock tower are also of significant in his design and can be seen in many of Seabrook’s later work.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.35
  2. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.34
  3. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.45
  4. ^ “Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School”, Docomomo Minimum Documentation Fiche, 2003, viewed 6 April 2012, [1]
  5. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.49
  6. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.44
  7. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.39
  8. ^ Philip, GOAD & Julie, WILLS 2012, The Encyclopaedia of Australian Architecture, Port Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press, p.620
  9. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.47
  10. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.48
  11. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.40
  12. ^ “Mac Robertson Girls High School” , RAIA Victoria - Significant 20th Century Architecture, 17 December 2008, viewed 5 April 2012, [2]
  13. ^ Antcliff, JUDITH, Dedge, PETER, McCowan, TIM & MacPherson, JANET 1981, Architectural biograghy: John Felix Mattews, Seabrook and Fildes, Louis R. Williams, Philip B. Hudson, thesis (Undergrad)—University of Melbourne, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning -- Investigation Project p.10
  14. ^ Antcliff, JUDITH, Dedge, PETER, McCowan, TIM & MacPherson, JANET 1981, Architectural biograghy: John Felix Mattews, Seabrook and Fildes, Louis R. Williams, Philip B. Hudson, thesis (Undergrad)—University of Melbourne, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning -- Investigation Project p.11
  15. ^ Christine, PHILLIPS 2007, Planting the seeds of Modernism: The work of Seabrook and Fildes 1933-1950, Master of Architecture (by thesis) Faculty of architecture, Building and Planning. The University of Melbourne, p.39

External Links[edit]

The Mac.Robertson Girls High School Offical Page

MacRobertson Girls’ High School in Vicorian Heritage Database

Seabrook, Norman Hugh (1906–1978) by Philip Goad

Architecture and Modernism