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The Lobster Bay House in New South Wales designed by architect Ian McKay. Photograph | Michael Wee

Iconic Australian Houses: an exhibition presenting 30 houses which celebrate Australia’s architectural heritage.

Karen McCartney has partnered with Architecture Foundation Australia to present an exhibition exploring Australian homes designed and built the past 60 years. The Iconic Australian Houses exhibition has travelled through regional areas after it was first displayed at the Museum of Sydney.

Large photographs of each house are accompanied by a story about the design and those who lived within the homes. Many of these homes are modest, yet they perfectly reflect the architect’s design intent and a strong relationship with the surrounding landscape.

Iconic Australian Houses

The Iconic Australian Houses exhibition explores several areas starting with ‘A Spirit of Change’ occurring in the 1950s and 1960s when architects began to travel aboard gaining new ideas and technologies. Karen explains:

What I have learned over time is that while architect-designed houses undoubtedly have similarities, each one is carefully considered work of innovation, ingenuity and integrity.

Harry Siedler’s Rose Seidler House and the Audette House by Peter Muller were the first two Australian homes to be featured.

Iconic Australian Houses

The exhibition focuses on concepts of ‘Rethinking the floor plan’, where we saw the introduction of internal circular courtyards and an emphasis on creating a flow from the inside to out.

Innovative structures that were informed by the site is discussed in ‘Responding to Nature and Landscape’ and ‘Experimentation: Ways of Living’ reflects how houses became like clothing for the homeowner’s lives.

Architects consider the macro and micro. They anticipate what might happen in people’s lives in years to come to create a house with the capacity to adapt.

The Iconic Australian Houses exhibition also explores the materials and craftsmanship of the houses of this era, as well as how nature informed the architecture’s form. Robyn Boyd, Glenn Murcutt, Sean Godsell and John Wardle are just some of the architects featured in this exhibition.

Iconic Australian Houses

Natural materials were chosen specifically to be at one with the landscape – to weather, gain patina with age and merge with their surroundings.

Along with still images of the architecture, 2D illustrations and 3D scale models are displayed within the exhibition. Filmed interviews with the architects and homeowners further tell the story of how Australian architecture has evolved over the past 60 years.

Iconic Australian Houses is a unique and insightful exhibition; one that’s not to be missed.  It is currently showing at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery alongside an Max & Olive: The Photographic life of Olive Cotton & Max Dupain, also an incredible exhibition of Australian heritage.