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A Life in Architecture
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A Life in Architecture

Author: James Birrell



In A Life in Architecture James Birrell reflects on his life in architecture: the influence of architect Roy Grounds; his respect for Walter Burley Griffin’s original Canberra plan and his emphasis on the value of incorporating the landscape in its entirety into building design and planning; and his own significant contribution to Australia’s post-war architecture.

Birrell writes candidly about Queensland’s lacklustre approach to town planning during the 1950s; the iconic buildings he designed in his years as Chief Architect for Brisbane City Council; and the revolutionary planning schemes he developed at the University of Queensland and James Cook University, in Papua New Guinea and regional Queensland.

Now, at the age of 84, Birrell comments on Robin Boyd’s 1960 book, The Australian Ugliness. While acknowledging the influence Boyd had on Australian architecture, he prompts readers to take a moment to consider their built environments in the light of the architectural legacy and lineage created by Griffin, Grounds and others.