Some of the ideals and principles exemplified by Warrendine Court
The number of dwellings, the townhouse designs and their aspects; places for people to meet and gather, open spaces for children to play; fluidity of landscaping... it was all intentional.
PRINCIPLES OF BAUHAUS
The Bauhaus (translation: House of Construction or School of Building) flourished in Germany between the Wars (1919-1933). Founded by the revered architect Walter Gropius, later led by Hannes Meyer then Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the apolitical Bauhaus eventually closed under pressure from the Nazi regime. From there, teachers and students of the Bauhaus scattered around the world to practice, teach and demonstrate through works the principles of "International" design and its balance between fine art, craft and manufacturing. Gropius, for example, became a professor at Harvard University, where Australian architect Tony Littlemore was one of many who came under his direct influence.
An important influence on the Bauhaus was the 19th century English designer William Morris, who had argued that art should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function. Thus the Bauhaus style was marked by the absence of ornamentation, and by harmony between the function of an object or a building and its design.
The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus — the radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit — were already partly developed before the Bauhaus was founded. An entire group of working architects turned away from fanciful experimentation, and turned toward rational, functional, sometimes standardised building.
Bauhaus principles are clearly evident in the design of Warrendine Court by former NSW Public Works architect Barry Krone.
Such principles - simplicity, functionality, rationality, harmony, and standardisation with respect for relationships between the built environment, landscape, and people who live and interact within - endowed Warrendine Court with a clarity of concept and practicality of day-to-day living that remains fresh and relevant today. Indeed, many more modern developments are 'failures' by comparison.
ORIGINS OF THE VILLAGE
Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defence, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.
AUSTRALIAN APPROACH OF PETTIT & SEVITT
Ken F. Woolley AM, B.Arch. (Hons) LAIA, is an influential Australian architect. Famous for the Wilkinson Award-winning "Woolley House" in Mosman, he is regarded as being a prominent figure in the development of the Sydney School movement and style of architecture that is uniquely Australian. He is also well-known for his contributions to project housing with Pettit and Sevitt.
Early in Woolley's career, working as a Design Architect with the NSW Government Architect's office, he took on a growing number of outside projects. He generated a reputation in the field of housing, winning a low-cost competition for an exhibition house with Michael Dysart, in 1958. Consequently, both architects were invited to submit designs for a display village of model project houses in Carlingford, in 1961. This successful event signalled the architect-designed project house to be a welcome alternative to the individually-designed or otherwise bland, unsympathetic standard houses of the time.
Woolley began a working relationship with the project housing company, Pettit and Sevitt, the same year, creating house types of high quality design and construction. “Split Level”, “Lowline” and other early forms incorporated design principles through simple lines, natural features and an emphasis on functionalism. They were
widely affordable due to the standardised materials: brick veneer construction, Gyprock plasterboard interior wall cladding, Monier concrete tiles and Stegbar aluminium windows. They often used basic grids, rectangular planes, and flat roofs, and were always firmly grounded with room to be adapted to various sites and terrains. The approach taken by Pettit and Sevitt, from Ken Woolley, gained an unprecedented popularity with prominent architects worldwide.
Students or academics wishing to examine Warrendine Court in person should contact the Body Corporate for a site visit.