Architecture of Harold Desbrowe-Annear

Federation Arts and Crafts Architecture of Harold Desbrowe-Annear


[Previous Page: Architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear Next page: Chadwick House Eaglemont]
external image Desbrowe%2520Arch%2520lge%2520animation.gif

With thanks to Harriet Edquist “Harold Desbrowe-Annear, A Life in Architecture

The architectural masterpieces, urban planning projects, and bohemian existence that characterized the life of Australian architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear are examined in this tribute to a major proponent of the arts and crafts movement in architecture.

  • The projects detailed in this study include the apartments and houses in Melbourne that Desbrowe-Annear designed in the Queen Anne, art deco, and arts and crafts styles;
  • Both a member of the artist community and a friend to powerful members of the political establishment, Desbrowe-Annear produced works of merit that earned him awards and wide recognition in the early part of the 20th century.
"Harold Desbrowe-Annear, A Life in Architecture"
“Harold Desbrowe-Annear, A Life in Architecture”

See Also

Architecture of Harold Desbrowe Annear

Notable Projects

external image 67748.jpg
external image MunicipalArch2.jpg

Arts and Crafts Houses

external image 77552.jpg

Melbourne City works

external image 77908.jpg
external image 097910-c70420e6-bfab-11e3-ab5c-db8d2f3f624e.jpg

Town Houses

external image 189973.jpg

Country Houses

external image 174815.jpg
external image Allanvale_homestead.jpg


external image vhr.jpg



Notable projects

external image MunicipalArch2.jpg
external image MunicipalArch2.jpg


1. Federation Arch, Princes Bridge 1901

The ephemeral triumphal arch erected on Princes Bridge by the City of Melbourne was designed by Desbrowe-Annear in 1901 to mark the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York for the Federation celebrations. It was influenced by Beaux-Arts civic design and the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ in Paris.[3]

2. Chadwick Houses, Eaglemont 1903

The three houses that Desbrowe-Annear erected in Eaglemont were commissioned by his fathe
r-in-law James Chadwick in 1903.

  • They were 36–38 The Eyrie, built as a residence for the architect and his family;
  • 32–34 The Eyrie, known asChadwick House and
  • 55 Outlook Drive, known as the Officer House.

While relatively modest in size, their design indicates that the architect was prepared to grasp the issue of the “small home” as one of the most challenging of the 20th century.

  • 36–38 The Eyrie
    36–38 The Eyrie

    They embody the principles of William Morris in their truth to materials and place, structural ‘honesty’, functionalism and celebration of the builder’s craft.

  • They are weatherboard with rough cast and half-timbering and exhibit many technological innovations including wall recessed, sliding window sashes, modular wall-framing and convection heating vents to fireplaces.
  • Each house was thoughtfully positioned on the slope of the hill, with increasing setbacks from the street, so as not to block the views from within.
Springthorpe Memorial, designed by architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear. The Victorian era memorial is at the Boroondara General Cemetery in Kew, Melbourne.
Springthorpe Memorial, designed by architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear. The Victorian era memorial is at the Boroondara General Cemetery in Kew, Melbourne.
The Springthorpe Memorial designed by Harold Desbrowe-Annear.
The Springthorpe Memorial designed by Harold Desbrowe-Annear.

3. Springthorpe Memorial, Booroondara Cemetery, Kew, 1897–1900

Springthorpe Memorial, Booroondara Cemetery
Springthorpe Memorial, Booroondara Cemetery

The Springthorpe Memorial in the Boroondara CemeteryKew, was Desbrowe-Annear’s first Arts and Crafts venture.

  • The design was influenced by William Lethaby’s writings on the iconography of the domed temple form in “Architecture: Mysticism & Myth”.
  • Consequentially the architecture is symbolic.
  • The geographic alignment of the tomb ascertains that the intense light of the afternoon sun lights up the temple with brilliant colour. It explores the idea of the hoped-for union of souls.[1]


external image 7117.jpg
external image 7117.jpg


4. Inglesby, South Yarra 1915

Inglesby, also called the Francis house, in South Yarra was one of Desbrowe-Annear’s most famous houses, identified by Robin Boyd as an example of Melbourne’s ‘pioneer modernism’.

  • It was timber-framed with plain white roughcast walls inspired by Californian architect Irving Gill. The plan of Inglesby centred on a large hall entered from the porch.
  • It was flanked either side by the dining room and the living room accessed through sliding doors which when opened extended into a huge living area across the front of the house. Inglesby’s low ceilings and horizontal flow aligned it also to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.[1]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s