Hobart’s architecture: styles and examples

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Hobart architectural styles explained

Art Deco 1930s: Hobart City Council (cnr Davey & Elizabeth St)
Smooth wall surface, often stucco; smooth-faced stone and metal; vivid colours, simplified and streamlined; geometric designs; towers for vertical emphasis; metal materials for decorative features.

Brutalist 1950s – 1970: RBA Building (111 Macquarie St)
‘béton-brut’, French for ‘raw concrete’; affordable, well-designed spaces that could accommodate many people; many used Besser blocks: large, nearly hollow, concrete bricks; quick and cheap to construct

Classical Revival 1800s: former Supreme Court (facing Franklin Sq)
AKA Italianate, Renaissance Revival, Neo-Renaissance: covers many revived architectural styles with ancient Greek or Roman features and proportions

Colonial Georgian 1788 – 1840: IXL Jams Buildings (25 Hunter St)
simplified symmetrical rectangular buildings, classical style, early British settlements in Australia. Think Volvo: boxy but good.

Edwardian 1901 – 1910: Butler, McIntyre, Butler (cnr Davey & Murray St)
less ornate than Victorian, patterns and decorations less complex, less visual clutter

Federation Gothic 1901 – 1930: Hotel entrance (façade 12 Murray St)
Federation era façade with Gothic style elements. This was formerly a government building.

Gothic Revival: St David’s Cathedral 1874(cnr Macquarie & Murray St)
Gothic style decorative patterns, finials, scalloping, lancet windows, hood mouldings and label stops (decorative feature at the end of a label, hood-mould, or string-course. If it’s a human head, it is called a head-stop)

Italianate 1800s: GPO (cnr Elizabeth & Macquarie St)
AKA Classical Revival, Renaissance Revival, Neo-Renaissance: covers many revived architectural styles with ancient Greek or Roman features and proportions (not Baroque – that was much more lavish)

Moderne 1930s: Government Offices (34 Davey St)
Streamline Moderne or Art Moderne, a late type of Art Deco, emphasis on curves & long horizontal lines, smooth, rounded wall surfaces; flat roof, small ledge at roofline; horizontal grooves or lines in stucco walls, metal balustrades, glass-block windows built into the curved wall

Picturesque Romantic 1800s: Treasury Chambers (cnr Davey & Murray St)
Romanticism aimed to arouse emotional reactions in the observer in architecture and music. (Tchaikovsky and Wagner became more popular than Bach.) Picturesque buildings: considered appropriate subjects for painting great artworks. The Romantic Picturesque styles inspired by architecture of particular historical periods, although often not very accurate copies of buildings of those times.

Regency 1811 – 1820: Franklin Chambers (105 Macquarie St)
Classical Greek styling, tall, narrow windows, simple proportions with clean, classical lines for effect rather than decorative touches.

Renaissance Revival 1800s: Scottish & Australian Savings Bank (103 Macquarie St) AKA Italianate, Classical, Neo-Renaissance: covers many revived architectural styles with ancient Greek or Roman features and proportions

Stripped Classical 1915 – 1940: CML Building (cnr Eliz & Macquarie St) select classical qualities of symmetry, division into vertical bays, added touches of Art Deco in the sculptures and Picturesque styling in the roof tiles, plain walls and light coloured stone

Tudoresque 1840s: St Mary’s Hospital (36 Davey St)
reviving elements of Tudor styling, steeply pitched gable roof, embellished doorway, groupings of recessed windows, stepped pediment, wide arched windows and doors with pointed apex, battlements

General Definitions

Greek classical architecture: 900 BCE – 100 CE
3 orders: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian
all fluted columns
post & lintel construction
proportions: height of columns are a ratio between the diameter of the shaft at its base and the height of the column
ratios vary in revival styles
Doric column – seven diameters high
Ionic column – eight diameters high
Corinthian column – nine diameters high

Roman classical architecture: 100 BCE – 400 CE (most surviving are from late Roman Empire after 100 CE)
Based on ancient Greek civic and temple architecture but added many innovations to become its own style
arch & dome construction allowed for columns to be more decorative than structural; developed Tuscan and Composite orders

Column Style Examples:

Composite column: The Stone Buildings (cnr Macquarie & Murray St)
columns which combine the scrolls of the Ionic order capital with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order

Corinthian column: Derwent & Tamar Building (28 Murray St)
the most ornate, slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls

Doric column: Treasury Buildings (23 Murray St)
simple circular capitals under a square cushion at the top of fluted columns

Ionic column: Savings Bank – Red Awnings (26 Murray St)
slender, smaller style of columns, with spiral scroll curls at the top, with egg-and-dart detail on the cap, always has a base, if it is fluted it has 24 grooves – if the architect has stuck to classical rules. This wasn’t always the case in Hobart.

Tuscan columns: Hobart Town Hall (50 Macquarie St)     
shorter, simplified unfluted Doric columns, simple entablature: no triglyph (vertical grooves in frieze) or gutta (small stone drops under the triglyph)

Greek Columns

Roman Columns