Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Most Original Building // Henty House

Do you follow my Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism page? https://www.instagram.com/tasmanianmodernism

Entire ongoing project gallery of Henty House> 

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Beauty of the Staircase

One of the most fascinating aspects of architecture for me is finding staircases.  A good staircase is always a joy to find and photograph.  This is my latest edit from this ongoing project, taking the staircase project to 172 now uploaded into the project gallery. 

I love this circa early 1970s staircase, there are so many layers of materials going on.  The terrazzo stairs themselves, and the aluminium bars that really are a dramatic feature.   The original door and light fittings also provide originality and visual joy.  

If you would like to hear more about my love of staircases and why I enjoy photographing them you can check out an interview I did for the ABC here:

And view the entire ongoing project on my website here https://www.tryanphotos.com/Stairs/n-qB2fn/

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Launceston Magistrates Court

This Modernist gem is a real joy to photograph, especially on a sunny day where the blue hues contrast nicely to the red brick and the dark granite. This building remains largely original in design both inside and out, the aluminium windows are wonderful too.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Erasing Memory // Before Returning Rewind the Tape

Remember heading down to the video store to hire your fix of movies?  The slow demise of the video store has been happening with the uptake of online streaming services ...who remembers before online streaming took off those kiosks in shopping malls where you would hire a DVD out of a machine?

Growing up going to the video store felt so normal, I didn’t think about it at all, it's what you did to see a movie.  My first video store I can remember going to was an independent one on a small strip of shops, that included the local grocer that had the latest video game arcade machines, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I remember fondly.  When the shop owners got that game in the ques of us kids was literally out the door! The stip of shops had all the Modernist conveniences including an asian takeaway, fish and chip shop, hairdresser, tattoo shop and of course the video store. I can remember seeing Super Mario Brothers the movie at the cinemas (13 times!!) and it took around 5 months for it to release on video.  I can recall they had one for sale on the desk for $50 - that was a fortune for a kid like me at the time.  Some things through the passing of time actually do come down in price.  Imagine paying $50 for a movie now!...or should I say streaming it...Super Mario Brothers were hot items for me... and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starring Vanilla Ice!

Fast forward to the 2000s and I can remember video stores in Launceston closing down. There was one large video store in Newstead.  There was also a video store in Kings Meadows that I managed to photograph, but all that remained was the outline of where the sign once was on the facade and if you looked through the front door, row after row of empty shelves. The Video City store just out of the CBD closed down this February.  Video City once had 29 stores around Tasmania, only two now remain that are located in Hobart.  

I don’t reckon anyone would have thought that video stores back in in the 1980s would close down - and yet in such a short period of time something that was so everyday is now but a memory. Like playing computer games, eating takeaway - these spaces were part of my memory - a memory of growing up - the architecture in a sense was there to house these institutions of entertainment and fast food. The everyday moments are all the more special when they disappear forever.  Remember the telephone box, the corner store... They are still around, but for how much longer?  Again, everyday normal - now not so normal - with us but like some alien life form now.

So with the knowledge that the Video City store was the last in Launceston I wanted to capture some moments. I wanted to use the empty car park and twilight to emphasise the passing of time on what was once an institution, a place where once was full of people and cars eager to get the latest release and pick up a bunch of weekly specials.  It’s funny how nostalgia works as I was even smiling about how fines would be issued for late returns! 

Whilst the neon sign was no longer illuminated, the billboard facing the street still was.  I used the lit up street sign neon that reflected into the now empty shop - a metaphor for a once normal Friday evening outing.   As is turned out I was very lucky to be there that evening, because the next afternoon I drove past and both the shop and street signage had been completely removed. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Civic Square Launceston - Documenting Change

Have you ever made a visit to Launceston and walked around the public buildings and public spaces known as Civic Square?  Here you will find a Modernist treasure trove of architecture, public spaces and public art works that combine to provide, until recently, an original and intact example of 1960/70/80s Modernism.  The space is home to the public library (pictured) designed in the 1970s with its wonderful form through the use of red brick strips.  The next time you look up at the library note how the bricks curve ever so slightly, this was part of the design.  The public artworks are many, they can be seen dotted around Civic Square itself as well as in public buildings, such as the wonderful ceramic artwork inside of Henty House.  Redevelopment of Civic Square has been occurring and with it some features will be lost from the original design aesthetic.

The curved water fountain facing Charles Street is stunning and is one of the earliest designs on site, I love its river stones that are used and guide my eye onward to the curved water fountain itself.  Henty House, the Magistrates Court and the Police Station are all Modernist designs of major historical and aesthetic value and on your visit to Launceston are worth checking out.  I love the subtle details too, the original bricks that formed Civic Square, and the sitting areas too with the red brick angles so reminiscent of that period.  Much of this will be lost forever, and as a photographer I spent much time there documenting so as to have a visual record of this major public space and buildings.  Places change, but its fascinating to look at photographs I reckon - they are a portal into our past, of how spaces and buildings once looked.  Sometimes it feels like the early 1980s when Civic Square was officially opened wasn't that long ago.  But it is nearly 40 years ago.  I wonder how long the new development and original buildings will stick around for until the circle of change and redevelopment occurs once again.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hobart Supreme Court

Part of the low sprawling Hobart Supreme Court building officially opened in 1980, it uses sandstone cladding on its exterior as well as a myriad of wonderful original design features inside the building including timber panelling and fixtures. In 2010 the design won the 25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture at the National Architecture Awards.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Concrete Shaped Tasmania

The year is 1969 - the Government Offices that is 10 Murray Street has just been completed, quotes for the latest office equipment and fit-outs are being sorted and it's one of many buildings in Hobart that symbolise a confident and booming economy.   Just down the road at Sandy Bay a few years after the opening of 10 Murray Street another concrete tower was being planned in the early 1970s - the now heritage listed Wrest Point Casino by Architect Sir Roy Grounds. An "architectural brother" to 10 Murray in its wide use of concrete and a tower in the sky.  By looking at, studying and photographing Architecture in Tasmania I get the idea that there was a lot of prosperity and confidence in life and the economy in those days. The cost involved in erecting highrise buildings must have been huge, yet all over Tasmania one can witness large scale buildings from the 1950s and into the 1970s.  Hobart especially saw many new landmarks to the skyline in the 1960s and 1970s.  The Brutalist stack that is the State Library of Tasmania is another example of the use of concrete - quite fitting really as it holds such important and sensitive materials.   Residential tower blocks, whilst not reaching the heights of Government and commercial buildings were many in Hobart, and taller examples can still be seen in Battery Point and Sandy Bay. Launceston too welcomed new large scale architectural arrivals that included the Myer Building, Telstra Exchange, Public Library and Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital to name but some examples.  Over in Devonport there stood the 1950s Maternity hospital, last month demolished.  In Burnie the Brutalist Government offices stand as one of its tallest buildings.  For me I love how architecture is a portal into the past. It's can be the literal beauty of a building, but also the social history that it reflects.  the 1950s-70s was a rapid period of growth in Tasmania, not since the Victorian period has the built landscape changed the way the towns and cities looked over Tasmania.  It is such a fascinating time to photograph and research.

About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website www.tryanphotos.com under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website www.tryanphotos.com and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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