Arthur Baldwinson (1908-1969)

27 January 2016 .

Arthur Baldwinson was one of the first Australian modernist architects who brought his experiences in Europe into his local designs. He successfully adapted the principles and materials of European modernism for the small scale suburban Australian house.


Born in Western Australia, his career began in the 1930s when he worked in London under the renowned Serge Chermayeff and later for Maxwell Fry on Kensal House, the progressive modernist housing scheme in Ladbroke, London. When Walter Gropius joined Maxwell Fry in partnership, Baldwinson had the opportunity to work directly with him on several projects. The influence of Gropius can be seen throughout much of Baldwinson’s later work. When Baldwinson returned to Australia in 1937, he became a founding member of the Australian Modern Architecture Research Society (MARS). Over the course of his career, Baldwinson taught at Sydney University and designed primarily domestic commissions. His most noted works include the Collins House, Pittwater (1938), the Dupain House, Castlecrag (1948), his own home, Greenwich (1953) and the Simpson-Lee House, Wahroonga (1957).


Hallmarks of Baldwinson Residential Design:
  • 1940s -1960s
  • Early works (such as the Collins House) utilised a sandstone plinth and external stairs, with stained redwood weatherboard construction above.
  • Use of concrete, bagged brick and extensive glazing
  • Free-plan concepts
  • Site-sensitive planning
  • The 20th century ‘scientific kitchen’
  • Flat roofed
  • Functional placement of windows and doors resulting in regional variation


baldwinson palm beach


The Collins House, Palm Beach
Arthur Baldwinson, 1938

davies house baldwinson



The Davies House, Willoughby
Arthur Baldwinson, 1951
Source: State Library NSW


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