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Harold Desbrowe-Annear was an enigma: an architect who counted among his clients some of Melbourne's wealthiest families and among his friends a wide range of bohemian artists and writers. In this beautifully illustrated and highly readable biography, Harriet Edquist explores both the multifaceted work and unconventional life of this intriguing man, a life that was sometimes scandalous and always eventful. Trained during the heady days of Melbourne's 1880s land boom and imbued with the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, Desbrowe-Annear embraced the power of architecture to improve people's lives. He promoted the idea of an 'architecture of democracy': an art available to everyone. From 1889 to 1933, he was responsible for some of the most innovative houses in Melbourne and on the Mornington Peninsula. Adopting a variety of styles, the houses were nonetheless all planned for comfort and functional efficiency, as well as good design. These qualities also featured strongly in the furniture and gardens he designed to accompany his houses and in the significant contributions he made to the future of the city as an urban designer. For Robin Boyd, Desbrowe-Annear was a 'pioneer modernist' whose best works deserved recognition alongside his European and American contemporaries. Harold Desbrowe-Annear brings the charm and innovation of that work to the fore.
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About the Author

Harriet Edquist is Professor of Architectural History and Head of the School of Architecture and Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She has published widely on Australian architecture and art and was editor of Transition: Discourse on Architecture from 1987 to 1992. She is the author and editor of a number of books, including The Culture of Landscape Architecture and Frederick Romberg: The Architecture of Migration 1938-1975.

Reviews

"'Harold Desbrowe-Annear was an iconoclast and maverick; a friend of a great number of artists and writers; a bohemian who never outgrew the desire to shock.' - Harriet Edquist"

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