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Everything you always wanted to know about Australian architecture and more

Australian Architecture: A History by Davina Jackson will enlighten and engage the reader, and best of all, it will open the door to our world of architecture – where we have been, how we have changed and what has been achieved.

Everything you always wanted to know about Australian architecture and more

As a history of architecture in Australia it doesn’t come much better than Dr. Davina Jackson’s new publication titled, Australian Architecture: A History.

This 368-page soft cover exposition published by Allen & Unwin is the seventh book by the seasoned author but, dare I say, is certain to become her signature title.

Davina Jackson, photography by Lyn Taylor.

Australian Architecture: A History is not only incredibly detailed and well written, but the style and layout make it a very approachable book on such a hefty subject.

Laid out in 10 chapters, Jackson traverses the Australian architectural landscape with ease presenting detailed analysis as she investigates the myriad factors and milestone happenings that have contributed to form, what is today, Australia’s built environment. 

A black and white illustration of two indigenous people in the early days of colonisation standing beside their structures and homes.

From pre-history to 1800 in chapter one, the journey concludes in chapter 10 at 2020, meandering through time to give context to the ever-evolving architecture within our country.

The text is peppered with wonderful images that both complement the words and signify buildings of note but are also of historical interest, especially those from the very early years. 

This treatise of Australian architecture is not only for those practising or studying architecture but will appeal to lovers of history and design aficionados interested in the changing landscape of our country. It is sure to be an invaluable resource but at its heart it is, simply put, a damn fine read.

A view across water of the MCA – an historic sandstone building next to a contemporary brown and white building – from Australian Architecture: A History.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. Photography by Andrew Michael.

Jackson is certainly well versed in the breadth of architecture in Australia and the perfect candidate to tackle this epic subject.

Her credentials are impeccable and include experience as an editor of note for Architecture Australia and international publications explaining the Global Earth Observations (Digital Earth) science movement.

She received a professorship at UNSW, has guest-lectured at universities and institutions around the world and is a Fellow of such illustrious organisations as the Royal Geographic Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Society of New South Wales. While Jackson’s background is exemplary, it is her writing style, that is both intelligent and authoritative, which makes this such an engaging book to read.

EY Centre. Photography by Graham Jepson.

While Architecture in Australia: A History written by Max Freeland was definitive when published in 1968, Jackson’s contribution provides an updated curation that spans the last 221 years of architecture in Australia and helps us to understand and define architecture today.

Australian Architecture: A History by Davina Jackson will enlighten and engage the reader, and best of all, it will open the door to our world of architecture – where we have been, how we have changed and what has been achieved.

Australian Architecture: A History by Davina Jackson

Publisher, Allen & Unwin
R.R.P. $39.99
ISBN 978-1-76087-839-9

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