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graphic

Architecture, Down Under

'New Australian Style' showcases Olympic country

(CNN) -- Australians have always done things with their own brazen flair. That includes style, particularly of the architectural kind.

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Millions of tourists will get a taste of this when Sydney and surrounding areas host the upcoming Summer Olympics starting September 15. They will discover shelter that adapts to the needs of the people, while standing out as contemporary originals.

But you don't have to travel to Australia to get a feel for where Aussies go to find shade. The book "New Australian Style" (Chronicle Books, hardback, $40) by George Michell, with photographs by John Gollings, brings the Land Down Under to readers everywhere.

Michell divides the book into four sections -- City, Suburb, Beach and Bush.

In the city section, Michell and Gollings tour the cosmopolitan centers and neighborhoods of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and New South Wales, which exhibit a mix of Victorian elegance, along with Modernist and post-Modernist panache.

Sharp lines mix with slow curves and chic taste in city apartments, which are often situated next to industrial complexes, offering a unique contrast to the eye.

Originality spices up the Aussie "burbs." One focus of this section is an "atrium house" in Brisbane, which boasts intricate woodwork and light to create "a grandiose addition to an otherwise modest" suburb, Michell says.

In the beach section, Michell displays the atypical towns, homes and mansions that have popped up on Australia's world-famous untamed shorelines.

One house in Victoria is referred to as an "oceanside bunker," and clearly lives up to the billing with low, flat lines that stress functionality (and the ability to duck ocean storms).

In Brighton, early-century bathing boxes shine with Lifesaver colors. An expressionist home in Victoria, meantime, blends unusual colors and curves to create a bizarre escape from traditional values.

Like the beach, the bush is a place Australians choose for their getaways. From an ecologically conscious home in the Adelaide Hills to a traditional homestead in Burrawang, Michell and Gollings capture the appeal of the Australian landscape.



RELATED STORIES:

Let the Games begin
August 1, 2000
Hitting its stride
August 7, 2000
City Guides: Sydney
Destinations: Sydney Opera House
July, 1999
Destinations: Sydney Photo Tour
June, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Official site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
The Great Buildings Collection: Sydney Opera House


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