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The Glory of Australian Architecture

The assignment is prepared on the topic, Barnet and Australian Identity: Universal or Local, Imported or Native? Illustrations are included for improving understanding on the key terms like Australian identity, universal, local, imported and native. The aim of the assignment is to conduct research on the issue of Australian identity, carved out of Barnet’s prolific architectural culture and write a compelling text which lures the audience, that is, CEO of a company. Scholarly reviews are included for critiquing the propositions. Based on these aspects, the thesis statement of the assignment is to unleash the Australian identity through the hands of Barnet, integrating the overarching argument on whether it is local, imported or native.

 General post Office, Sydney, Pitt Street Carvings

Fig 1: General post Office, Sydney, Pitt Street Carvings

Note: Example of the 'realistic' Pitt Street Carvings by Tomaso Sani.

Architecture of the civic building

Fig 2: Architecture of the civic building

Note: Decorative architecture on the civic building, Sydney

Figures like this, if placed at the entry gate of company, would address questions like how to promote Australia heritage, and culture for enhancing the culture. This promotion is needed for preserving the cultural identity (Sydneylivingmuseums.com.au, 2022).  This preservation, in turn, would secure the future of Australian cultural identity, as there is a feeling of optimism. It is the values preserved by the locals which enhances heritage, the legacy of which is protected within culture.

 General Post Office, Sydney

Fig 3: General Post Office, Sydney

Note: A scene of the street depicting the hustles and bustles of General Post Office, Sydney

The glory of Australian architecture is enhanced through craftsmanship of James Barnet, the renowned New South Wales colonial architect. Typical evidence of this lies in the architecture used in public buildings of Sydney. People could see Barnet’s masterpieces in Garden Palace, Australian Museum, Chief Secretary’s office, Land’s Office, and General Post Office. The architecture of these buildings is such, which transforms the entire picture of public spaces (Sydneylivingmuseums.com.au, 2022). In the architectural forms used by Barnet, there is a flavour of public work, treasure, communication, education, and land. Mention could be made of Bridge Street, above Sydney Cove, which established a connection between the old and new cities of Old World. This Bridge Street is famous for the architecture engraved by Barnet (Hogben, 2018).

Arguments could be proposed, stating the consistency, which prevailed in Australian social life. This is the consistency in customs, tradition, values, infested with universal or regional dichotomy. In mid-19th century, when painters, and writers selected the theme of region, Barnet shifted the focus to local values. This was reflected in completing the public building projects like courthouses, post offices, gaols, police stations, and defence work buildings in New South Wales (Harbourtrust.gov.au, 2020). The works were a state of art, in which Barnet blended adaptation to Australia’s topography, climate, local customs, and traditions. Spending time travelling in between the local places provided him with practical experience of the country life. However, he had to witness controversies for using the architecture in civic buildings. Carvings from everyday Australian life evoked protests from the believers of classical ideals to be represented on the public monuments (Drew, 2022).

Barnet's Style and Controversies

A common architecture style used by Barnet is that of classical styles which were prevalent in Greece and Rome. To avoid more controversies, Barnet replaced the ornamental panels with natural form of sculpture, for representing the everyday life and occupations of Australia. However, notable influence was created from Barnet’s iconic works, giving a reminiscence of Italian Renaissance (Stiles, 2019). The naturalistic carvings, brought to life, by Barnet, aroused debates. But Barnet integrated Victorian classicist ideas to radicalize the ordinary figures through symbolic representation of art in the buildings like post offices. Through this, Barnet added a new direction to art, colonizing the carvings into a much-advanced level (Macquarie, 2021).

The thesis statement identified in the assignment is that of unleashing the Australian identity through the hands of Barnet, integrating the overarching arguments on whether it is local, imported or native. This thesis statement is effective, as it includes symbolic representation of art, promoting cultural heritage of the Australian office buildings like that of the post office. The outlining statement to the introduction is Australian identity being carved out of Barnet’s Victorian classicist ideas and ideals, along with a prolific architectural culture (Willis & Williams, 2021). This statement is effective in terms of assessing the controversies, which Barnet encountered for representing the everyday life and occupations through artworks. Consistency prevailed in Australian social life, infested with universal or regional dichotomy in customs, tradition, culture, which Barnet intended to carve out in the architecture and arts. He focused mainly on the classicist, local values (Hill, 2021).

The evidence of realistic carvings in General Post Office in February 1982 could be considered in this case, which ignited protests for revealing scenes from everyday life in Australia, depicting a shearer and a postman. Those who believed in refined classical ideals were the only themes to be used in the architecture in buildings were involved in the protests. This evidence is effective to be integrated in terms of framing the mindset of the people during publicizing the values, ideals, customs and traditions, which seemed to be exclusive to one culture (Adams, 2019).

One paragraph, which could be selected, is as follows:

“The naturalistic carvings, with their focus on everyday life, were a new, unprecedented form of expression to incorporate into a civic building, and they provoked protracted debates in the New South Wales Parliament, attacks in the press, and in 1885, a cover story in the English magazine, The Builder titled 'A Colonial Discussion on Art”

The clauses in the paragraph could be identified as the naturalistic carvings, which Barnet intended to use in the architecture of civic buildings. Another clause is the debates, which ignited on using the themes in symbolic representation of art (Green, 2019). These clauses could be related to the aspect of refined classical ideals, as discussed in the previous paragraph. People believing that only refined classical ideals could be portrayed in the monuments of importance, and not local values, which Barnet intended to unleash through his artworks.

For this assignment, I chose the genre of multimodal report, consisting of introduction, overarching arguments, discussion, annotated bibliography and reflection. I chose this genre, as it expanded the scope and arena of the subject, making my perspectives broad. I felt that use of evidence justified the discussion and annotated bibliography. I also felt that selection of a paragraph, identifying the clauses seemed to be effective in terms of synthesizing the clauses and the aspects identified in thesis statement and outlining statement, indicating the overarching arguments to be discussed for assessing the promotion of Australian identity through local or classical idealist values.

Actual

Potential

Argument

Word

naturalistic

original

The word choice is appropriate for this writing because it seems to be ornamental for reflecting the form of carvings

Word

unprecedented

uncommon

The word choice is appropriate for this writing because it describes the level of artistic and symbolic representation of art into the civic buildings, which is unparallel

Grammatical structure

“They provoked protracted debates in the New South Wales Parliament”

Use of unprecedented artforms in the civic building ignited protest and debates

I used passive voice and certain alternations to the sentence structure to provide insights into the exact happenings which took place at that time due to Barnet’s artworks

Grammatical structure

“The naturalistic carvings, with their focus on everyday life, were a new, unprecedented form of expression to incorporate into a civic building”

The natural form of carvings, unleashed the local values, customs, traditions of Australia, which, in its symbolic representation of art in civic buildings, is unparallel.

I slightly modified the sentence structure, and word selection to add glory to the representation of themes to be represented in the form of art.

References

Adams, A. (2019). Art Deco medicine. In The Routledge Companion to Art Deco (pp. 160-175). Routledge. [https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=7UufDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA2096&dq=barnet,+australian+art,+architecture,+and+culture&ots=B8-pN23KBL&sig=oX4s5MHrPYyD0zm1Fizt4rECzQ0#v=onepage&q&f=false]

Drew, P. (2022). The trials of James Barnet. Quadrant, 66(1-2), 129-133. [10.3316/informit.245893654130783]

Green, B. (2019). Source Architects. Architecture Australia, 108(1), 104-108. [10.3316/informit.122946049178190]

Harbourtrust.gov.au (2020). James Barnet: The Colonial Architect. Retrieved 23rd April 2022 from https://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/en/our-story/harbour-history/digitales/james-barnet/

Hill, M. (2021). Australian Sculpture, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century. A Companion to Australian Art, 431. [10.1002/9781118767979#page=433]

Hogben, P. (2018). James Green (‘De Libra’) and “Sydney Architecture Aesthetically Considered”. Fabrications, 28(3), 375-400. [10.1080/10331867.2018.1507321]

Macquarie, L. (2021). Heritage. Architecture Australia, 110(6), 68-70. [10.3316/INFORMIT.138269612143420]

Stiles, M. (2019). Building Jerusalem at Botany Bay: James Barnet (1827-1904) and John Grant (1857-1928). ABE Journal. Architecture beyond Europe, (14-15). [10.4000/abe.6344]

Sydneylivingmuseums.com.au (2022). JAMES BARNET’S SYDNEY CITY LEGACY Retrieved 23rd April 2022 from https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/events/james-barnet%E2%80%99s-sydney-city-legacy

Willis, J., & Williams, K. (2021). Travel à la Mode: Australian Architects and the Changing Nature of the International Tour. Fabrications, 31(3), 357-397. [10.1080/10331867.2021.2006429]

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"Barnet's Essay: Australian Identity - Universal Or Local, Imported Or Native?." My Assignment Help, 2022, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/acad001-academic-communication/academic-and-design-communications-file-S1E51A3.html.

My Assignment Help (2022) Barnet's Essay: Australian Identity - Universal Or Local, Imported Or Native? [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/acad001-academic-communication/academic-and-design-communications-file-S1E51A3.html
[Accessed 23 February 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Barnet's Essay: Australian Identity - Universal Or Local, Imported Or Native?' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/acad001-academic-communication/academic-and-design-communications-file-S1E51A3.html> accessed 23 February 2024.

My Assignment Help. Barnet's Essay: Australian Identity - Universal Or Local, Imported Or Native? [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2022 [cited 23 February 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/acad001-academic-communication/academic-and-design-communications-file-S1E51A3.html.

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