ARCHITECTS IN OZ - Ken Woolley

"Nationalism... has never been a source of good art"

Ken Woolley is the only remaining partner of the Sydney architectural firm of Archer, Mortlock and Woolley, which he joined in 1964. He has been recognized as a person who is flexible in his approach to any architectural problem. One of his most notable achievements was the design of thousands of project houses in the 60s and 70s, thereby making excellent architecturally designed homes available to all and not just a privileged few. Other important works include Town Hall House in Sydney, 1970 the Queenscliff Surf Pavilion, N.S.W. 1982, and more recently, the competition winning design for the National Archives building in Canberra, and the Australian Pavilion at the World Expo 1988 in Brisbane.

We asked Mr. Woolley to talk to us about Australian Style in architecture today. Does Australia have a distinct style of its own which contributes to international architecture or are we, in fact, representative of many styles from other parts of the world and periods in time?

"There is a fundamental reason behind my reservations about recognizing an Australian style and it is this: the purpose of this search for a style is to use it as a sort of "prescription", we are looking for a style in order to tell people how to do it, and I am totally opposed to prescriptions for art. Our recent surge of nationalism has encouraged this quest of a style - it isn't the whole story by any means, but there is a lot of nationalism, and nationalism as such has never been a source of good art.

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