Melbourne versus Sydney

University of Sydney
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Architectural Theory Review, 2006, 11 (1), pp. 60 - 72
Issue Date:
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This paper examines the long rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne for architectural superiority. It is argued that Robin Boyd's 1961 characterisation of Melbourne in the 1950s and of Sydney in the 1960s, which was as much concerned with historical shifts as with regional differences, has been subsequently adopted by Spence in 1985 and others as essential differences between the two cities. The theoretical positions against which the debate has been referred and renewed, resonate with many of the more interesting questions around architectural identity, cultural specificity and geographical location. The most durable of the theoretical frameworks in which the rivalry has been cast is that of critical regionalism. The paper argues that critical regionalist theories have been reduced in such a way that its claims, particularly as they have been applied to Sydney and Melbourne, are readily taken up within the discourses and activities of 'branding.'
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