by Lena GattiSpanish Mission homes are an iconic peice of history in the worlds architecture and namely that of Brisbane City itself.
This picture showcases the rhythmic arches as they guide you along the open, breezy corridor, focusing again on gothic features, large urns, kilim rugs with ethnic prints, a heaviness in the timber but the height of the ceilings and curved archways mixed with the white stucco walls soften these timbers.
And last but not least, a focal point at the end of the corridor, a heavy chest and stunning decorative mirror encourages you on your journey.
During the turn of the 19th Century, many immigrants migrated to Australia in the search of a better life. Australia has a diverse background with a wonderful mixer of cultures. With this comes a mix of religions, values, traditions, food, clothing and housing styles it is no wonder our multi-cultural society has given us a taste of different styles in housing and architecture. The style of a home is an important cultural factor in our built environment.
The Spanish mission housing style is a perfect example. These homes were based on the California mission’s style that the Spanish Catholic colonists built in the mid- to late-18th century. These houses borrow the mission’s architectural elements such as bell towers and roof parapets. They also featured recessed front porches. California has been an inspiration of ideas in housing for Australia since early in the 19th Century, with its similarities on climate matching our own along our coastal regions.
Australians have understood and embraced the cultural differences in housing design and styles. Robin Boyd a famous Australian architect quoted on the importance of modern Australian architecture being an expression of a “local identity which balanced the ideals of art and architecture against local climate and social realities”.
The housing brought to Australia from other countries seemed to lend ideas from elsewhere instead of Australia adopting its own identity in housing design, this was because Australia was a colony without history in buildings and architecture like for example Rome with its monumental buildings and cities. Australia needed to form its own identity which has incorporated immigrant’s likes, colours and styles. We have held onto the English housing model since early settlement, even seeing Queenslander style housing incorporating this English heritage such as cornice design of floral motifs and ceiling roses.
Australian architecture has mostly incorporated influences from aboard incorporating a mix of culture and mixing it with what we assume to be Australian. The unique look of Australian design and architecture we tend to find in modern day architecture in places like Port Douglas, North Queensland, Noosa and Byron Bay etc where Australian Architects are designing with natural materials and styling the houses in sympathy for the buildings surrounds. Earlier Architects such as Harry Seidler also designed with these elements in mind, but mostly prior to this Australian housing remained culturally influenced to some degree.
We all have various needs culturally with our day to day living requirements and it is nice to incorporate these into designing. Some ideas may work others may not due to climate, space and budget. These are all factors we need to encompass when designing.
A famous architect once quoted:
“You know, if we set out to design an architecture that's Australian we're in trouble ... The important thing is that we address the issues, we address the landscape, we address the brief, we address the place. If we address those things and do them rationally and poetically at the same time, we must be getting somewhere”. (Murcutt)