Cuthbert Whitley House, 107 Limestone Avenue, Braddon. whitley-feature

Inter-war functionalist

The inter-war functionalist style, which spanned the period between the two world wars, had its background in European modernism of the 1920s and 1930s. Modernism is the general name given to the trend which embraced functionalism, technology and the elimination of applied historical ornamentation. The influence of Le Corbusier, Eric Mendelssohn, W M Dudock and the Bauhaus was important.

Australia was slow to embrace these ideas, with the better inter-war examples being by younger architects who had travelled to Europe and witnessed the new ‘international style’ first hand. They designed streamlined, horizontal architecture, often in factories, schools and hospitals.

These buildings were, for the time, radical and progressive, with their simple geometric shapes, light colours and large areas of glass.

Canberra residential examples of the style are mostly simple, cubic shaped buildings exhibiting asymmetrical massing, flat roofs concealed by parapet and with metal framed glazing, either as corner or ribbon windows.


  • Asymmetrical, cubic massing
  • Simple geometric shapes
  • Roof concealed by parapet
  • Metal framed corner or ribbon windows
  • Long horizontal balconies
  • Cantilevered balconies or hoods

On this site

Other examples

  • Critchley Parker House, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria. G Mewton and Roy Grounds, 1933.
  • George Stooke House, Brighton, Victoria. Mewton and Grounds, 1934.
  • Sanitarium Health Food Factory, Warburton, Victoria. E Billson, 1937.
  • Automotive Engineering Building, Sydney Technical College, Ultimo, NSW. E H Rembert, 1938.