The purpose of this paper is to examine the design of state school buildings in Australia from the 1880s to the 1980s to establish common threads or similar concerns evident in their architecture at a national level.
The researcher compiled a significant data set of hundreds of state schools, derived from government, professional and other publications, archival searches and site visits. Standard analytical methods in architectural research are employed, including stylistic and morphological analysis, to read the designs for meaning and intent.
The data set was interrogated to draw out major themes in school design, the identification of which form the basis of the paper's argument. Four major themes, identifiable at a national level, are identified: school as house; school as civic; school as factory; and school as town. Each theme reflects a different chronological period, being approximately 1900-1920, 1920-1940, 1940-1960 and 1960-1980. The themes reflect the changing representation of aspiration for the school child and their engagement with wider society through the architecture of the school.
The paper considers, for the first time, the concerns of educational architecture over time in Australia on a consciously national, rather than state, level.
The research for this paper was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (DP110100505). The assistance of Andrew Murray, Dr Cameron Logan and Dr Sianan Healy in the research for this paper is gratefully acknowledged.
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