Experiments in Modern Living

Scientists’ Houses in Canberra 1950–1970
Authored by:
ISBN (print): 9781921862694
ISBN (online): 9781921862700
Publication date: May 2012
Imprint: ANU Press

When a group of brilliant young scientists arrived in Australia’s national capital after World War II to take up leading roles in the establishment of national research institutions, they commissioned Australia’s leading architects to design their private houses. The houses that resulted from these unique collaborations rejected previous architectural styles and wholeheartedly embraced modernist ideologies and aesthetics. The story of how these progressive clients contributed to the innovative design of their houses brings fresh insights to mid-twentieth-century Australian domestic architecture and to Canberra’s rich cultural history.


‘… an intriguing study of houses commissioned by the ‘highly educated, cultured and well-travelled intelligentsia’ who comprised Canberra’s mid-century scientific community.’
Australian Garden History, Volume 24(4), 2013.

‘Far removed from a dry academic thesis or architectural history focusing on buildings rather than their inhabitants, [this] book is alive with insights into the amazing generation of postwar scientists who came to Canberra.’
—Gia Metherell, The Canberra Times (Panorama section), 23 June 2012.