Newspaper House, Collins Street, competition 1932.

Original post 8 July 2020

This is #NewspaperHouse, built in 1932-33 for the Herald as their city office as it is, and as it might have been, a very zippy zigzaggy Art Deco confection; it was one of 8 competition entries published, mostly quite conservative but all Art Deco more or less, showing how it had taken hold after first emerging in 1929-30. There were some big names and some unknown ones. The winner was #StephensonAndMeldrum, soon to do all this hospitals. The zippy one is by C Alexander (who was he ??), next to that is #ArthurPlaisted (gothicy!), and next to that #StuartCalder (boring); next page Love & Marocco (boring) #BatesSmartMcCutcheon (deco gothic) then John Gawler with John Scarborough (interesting) – the latter then joined with Love as #scarboroughandlove, and Gawler became #gawleranddrummond. Equal second went to Schmerberg & Fisher (very stylish, but who were they?) and #NormanSchefferle & Maxwell Dean (looks like simplified Tudor ?). So much talent.

The prize winning design of #NewspaperHouse by #StephensonAndMeldrum vs what was built; all the same except the first two levels, notably the mosaic by #NapierWaller expanded from just a central panel to one that ran right across, and the is shopfront simpler, without the frame. Overall it’s a cautious move towards Art Deco, with a traditional base middle and top, and I guess stylised forms, but without the fluidity of later Deco, or the zippy ornament of early Deco. Interestingly the sign at the top isn’t just incised stone, it’s mainly #neon.

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