Lecture | The logic of Joseph Reed’s many styles

The logic of Joseph Reed’s many styles

Chris Wood

The Public Library, Melbourne, Joseph Reed, 1854, lithograph with tint stone. SLV collection.

A free talk at the State Library of Victoria by Christopher Wood, director of ASA cultural tours, about Melbourne’s major nineteenth-century architect, Joseph Reed (1823–90).

Reed’s use of Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Palladian and many other styles for ‘monuments’ like the Melbourne Public Library, Town Hall, Independent Church (Collins Street), Scots’ Church (Collins Street) and the Melbourne Exhibition Building seems at first sight to follow no logical thread, other than showiness.

This lecture will demonstrate that Reed, a highly educated polymath, evolved the styles of buildings from the functional needs of his patrons and the purpose of each building, and that the ideation he used in evolving designs was both highly intelligent and eminently logical; it was this logic that won him the majority of Victoria’s architectural competitions.

The lecture draws on previously ignored descriptions in the press and elsewhere, the minutes of building-committee meetings, architectural drawings in various archives, and other documents to shed light not only upon Reed’s buildings but also upon the attitudes, beliefs and aspirations of the people with whom he ‘created’ Melbourne. It will also reveal new insights into Reed’s character, early education by Derwent Coleridge (son of the great poet), and work in England before he came to Melbourne.

Date: Tuesday 26th November 2013, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Venue: Queen’s Hall, Level 3, Main entry, Swanston St (Has wheelchair access)

Bookings: Book online, 03 8664 7099, inquiries@slv.vic.gov.au