One structure built at this time was the Royal Exhibition Building (1880) in Melbourne.
This was one of Australia's first attempts at creating
a style their own, although in reality this building was just a combination of other
styles. None-the-less, it created creativity and a new direction in the country's
In about 1900 Australia began to toy with the idea of
creating their own architectural style, just as they were also creating an independent
identity and independence movements were gaining momentum. They started this new
style, which was called the Federation Style. As this style was rising in prominence
so too was the city of Canberra, giving the present capital the most buildings with
these designs. Many houses were built in the style as they are noted for their flat
roofs and construction from primarily concrete. The Federation Style also spread
to Melbourne and Sydney, but to a much lesser degree. In Sydney only the Castlecrag
is a notable landmark in the style.
After World War II ended, the architecture in Australia
truly changed. Prior to this the country, like much of the world, struggled economically,
making large construction projects rare. By 1950 the economy had recovered and most
Australian cities lifted their ban on tall structures, leading to the age of the
sky scraper in Australia.
Sky scrapers not only built cities up, they also urbanized many places and population
densities rose. Despite this, most people still preferred land and a private yard,
so the construction of sky scrapers was a slow process that didn't peak until
the late 1900s. Sydney led the way and still built a huge number of sky scrapers
in these early years, most of which were office buildings.
The construction of sky scrapers also shifted Australia's
architectural inspiration from Britain and
Europe to the United States. While
the United States may have been the leading architectural inspiration in the 1900s,
today Australia is again forming their own path forward and is trying more and more
to incorporate ideas, structure, and styles that represent Australia, their culture,
and their weather into their buildings.
This modernist and post-modernist approach has made more recent
Australian architecture fairly unique as they have constructed buildings
that represent their culture or their landscape and setting. This has come from
both local architects as well as from international architects. The most famous
of the country's buildings is the Sydney Opera House (1973), which was designed
by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, but is truly representative
of Australia and Sydney's waterfront.