City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

A collaborative map of modernism in Australia

Written in


A grab of the map (actual map linked below)

In support of the ‘Modern Times’ exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, 2008

Ed. This piece was originally published at on September 1st 2008, simultaneously with this review.

I’d long ago decided to try to deliver constructive criticism here. So after discussing the ideas for distributed exhibitions in the previous review of the Modern Times exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, I decided to try to make a simple example of what I meant.

View at

The simplest possible offering that still illustrates the point would be a Google Map of modernism in Australia— an artefact that lives outside the exhibition, guiding people to examples of the work that exist outside the exhibition. So I started a map, dragged a few blue markers into place, and then enlisted a few friends and colleagues to help me kickstart it.

And many thanks to Super Colossal’s Marcus Trimble, Canberra House’s Martin Miles, Rory Hyde from The Architects, who did the bulk of the additions. Stuart Harrison, Andrew Maher from work, and a few others formed a supportive advisory panel. We have a few more potential contributions to come from Perth’s Best, Max Creasy, architects at Terroir and Hassell, and a few others I hope (also addressing the gender balance!)

But within a week, we’d got a pretty good set of examples — over 180 buildings and structures, located pretty exactly, and many with links and images (and we’ve tried to credit images where possible.) Houses, skyscrapers, civic buildings, sculptures, memorials. We didn’t want to get into a debate of what formally counted as modernism and what didn’t — inclusivity was the order of the day. Having said that, if you think there’s a property that shouldn’t be listed there, for whatever reason, let us know.

Screen grab of the map

It’s a little skewed towards the south and east, to say the least — Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, to be precise. We’re hoping to rectify that, with your help. We need contributions for the other major cities in Australia, and I’ve decided to take a curatorial approach rather than fully open, given the hard work put in by others thus far and the lack of back-up/roll-back facilities in Google Maps. So if you want to join in, and if you know of examples of modernism in built form — buildings, sculptures, infrastructure, built or unbuilt — drop me a response here and I’ll happily welcome you in. (Ed. Subsequently, we left it open!)

In the meantime, we hope you find the map useful, interesting. It’s embedded below, though you might find this direct link more useful. I’ll also send it to the Powerhouse Museum, offering it up as a potential adjunct to their exhibition, if they’re interested.

Ed. This piece was originally published at on September 1st 2008, simultaneously with this review.

View at


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