Self-guided architectural tour
DESIGN Canberra celebrates and promotes
Canberra as a global city of design. It is an
annual program that has been running seven
The festival is presented by Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, a respected
and nearly 50-year-old membership organisation which represents the
Canberra region’s designers, artists and craftspeople at every stage of
their careers. Craft ACT is home to a community of glass artists, furniture
makers, textiles artists, ceramic artists and jewellers, and collaborates with
designers and architects across many disciplines.
Back Cover: Manning Clark House
Photo: Martin Miles
The self-guided tour
To connect with audiences who cannot physically
make it to Canberra during the festival, DESIGN
Canberra is curating a DESIGN Anytime program.
This new program includes self-guided tours of iconic
architecture and contemporary design throughout
Canberra. This will promote and celebrate Canberra as
a global city of design every day of the year.
Quote –“It was the biggest job ever built in
Australia at the time – a million square feet – it
was a city not a building! And I’m much more
interested in the building as part of the city,
in the urban forms of things, than I am in the
This zine was created for the 2020 DESIGN Canberra
festival, as a curated collection of highlights of Robin
Boyd’s architectural career in Canberra. This design
experience can be enjoyed as a series of leisurely
reflections over a week or an exciting day trip through
Guidelines and etiquette
When taking this self-guided tour please be respectful
of the occupants of the buildings. By using this zine
you agree to comply with the following housekeeping
Body – Design Canberra celebrates and promotes Canberra
as a global city of design. It is an annual program that has
• View private property been running from the six street years or strong. footpath. The Do festival is presented by
not step onto private Craft ACT: property Craft at + any Design time. Centre, a respected and nearly
• Do not take photographs
which represents the
artists and craftspeople at every
stage of their careers. Craft ACT is home to a community
of glass artists, furniture makers, textiles artists, ceramic
artists and jewellers, and collaborates with designers and
architectsacross many disciplines.
Access. Body –Access details
Robin Boyd was a distinguished architect, writer and social
commentator and throughout the 1940s and 1950s was
Australia’s leading proponent of the modern movement. Boyd
made an important contribution to Canberra’s architectural
landscape during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1953, Boyd formed the practice of Grounds, Romberg
and Boyd alongside Melbourne architects Roy Grounds and
Frederick Romberg. They practiced extensively in Australian
capital cities, including Canberra, where they maintained an
Boyd held a lifelong interest in modern architecture, and the
suburban house was often the focus of his work, both in design
and writing. Boyd’s influential book, The Australian Ugliness
(1960), critiqued the prevailing cultural and architectural tastes
in Australia at the time, condemning the visual pollution of
ornamental styles and decrying featurism.
With 2019 being the centenary of design for architect Robin
Boyd, this tour revisits the work of one of Australia’s most
Photo: Robin Boyd, 1979 by Mark Strizic.
Sourced from robinboyd.org.au
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A. Churchill House
B. Roche House
C. Manning Clark House
D. Verge House
216 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
4 Bedford Street, Deakin
11 Tasmania Circuit, Forrest
204 Monaro Crescent, Red Hill
Churchill House was Boyd’s last major commission, and
he died prior to its completion in 1971. It is one of a small
number of opportunities Boyd had to work on a larger
Churchill House was commissioned for the Winston
Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia. The complex is
made up of a main building that connects an east and
south wing, a separate pavilion, the central pool, and a
rear car park. The main building and northern pavilion
form an L shape which encloses the courtyard, an
example of Boyd’s interest in creating intimate outdoor
spaces in his designs.
The key feature of the building is the central pool,
flanked by walls of precast concrete fins for sun
protection and vertical slit windows.
ADDRESS. 216 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
Churchill House. Photo: Darren Bradley @modarchitecture.
‘The suburb was the major
element of Australian society.”’
This unpretentious, one bedroom plus study house was
designed by Boyd for Dr Hilary and Barbara Roche in
1954. Dr Roche came to Canberra from Melbourne in the
early 1950s to work in the Department of Health (Division
The house was designed in the early stages of the
Grounds, Romberg and Boyd partnership and is a good
example of Boyd’s more economical designs from the
early 1950s: linear, single storey houses sited on narrow
blocks with long unbroken rooflines, widely projecting
eaves and large areas of timber-framed windows.
These high-set windows are of particular interest here,
allowing the roof form to appear to ‘float’ above the
simple rectangular shape of the house. The waist height,
horizontal windows are designed to offer glimpses of the
landscape while the inhabitants of the house are seated.
ADDRESS. 4 Bedford Street, Deakin 2600
Roche House. Photo: By AYArktos - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://
commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=554721 wikimedia.
Boyd designed this house for Professor Manning and
Dymphna Clark in 1952. In July 1949, the Clarks had
moved to Canberra from Melbourne for Manning
to take up the post of professor of history at what
would become the Australian National University. The
Manning Clark House was one of the first modernist
houses built in post-war Canberra.
The house has a low-pitched gable roof, widely
projecting eaves and large areas of timber framed
windows. Two separate parallel wings divide the
living and sleeping areas, which are connected by a
glass walled passage and entrance. Either side of this
passage is a courtyard, one facing north and the other
(the main entrance) facing south.
Visible from the street is the famous study, positioned
over the entrance. It is here that Clark wrote his six
volume History of Australia.
ADDRESS. 11 Tasmania Circuit, Forrest
Manning Clark House. Photo: ManningClarkHouse.com
The Verge House was designed by Robin Boyd in 1964
for Will Graves Verge, the grandson of the leading
colonial architect, John Verge.
Boyd had a keen interest in early colonial architecture
and believed that John Verge’s Elizabeth Bay House
had ‘the most famous architectural detail in the
country’—a cantilevered staircase which lead to a
gallery capped by a domed ceiling with lantern-like
Boyd paid homage to this by constructing a central
staircase for the Verge House which led to a gallery
connecting all the main rooms. The house is topped
by an octagonal skylight, which lights the central
space of the dwelling.
Observe from the street how the house is flanked
by wide timber-lined eaves which are shaved back
at the four corner pillars: the house is essentially a
square with truncated corners, but with an octagonal
roof. All rooms are arranged aroeyeund a two-storey,
octagonal central atrium and main stair landing.
ADDRESS. 204 Monaro Crescent, Red Hill
Verge House. Photo: Darren Bradley @modarchitecture.
PROUDLY PRESENTED BY
Craft ACT Craft and Design Centre is
supported by the ACT Government, the Visual
Arts and Craft Strategy - an initiative of the
Australian, State and Territory Governments,
and the Australia Council for the Arts - the
Australian Governments arts funding and