Books & Literature

Book Review: New South Australian Architecture by Peter Barnes, Lance Campbell & John Nowland

NON-FICTION: A beautiful celebration of key architecture in South Australia.

Both a narrative of architectural excellence and a beautiful object in itself

*Photo credit to Norman Hackenberg.

The last 20 years have seen Adelaide go from being a large town to fully blossoming into a small city. And driving this growth has been a burst of architectural energy and some world-leading construction projects. 

New South Australian Architecture captures that energy in a series of beautiful images by renowned architectural photographer Peter Barnes. In gathering this collection, Barnes has trawled through his archives, but also taken new shots. Here are some of the now iconic builds: Adelaide Oval; Pridham Hall; Convention Centre West; The Wine Centre; and “The Cheese Grater” (SA Health and Medical Research Institute). But many gems are to be found in the lesser-known builds, such as private houses, railway overpasses, and the delightful Cleve Area School. Colour images capture not just the known perspective of buildings, but some of the over-looked details, interiors, and hidden structural beauties. 

Barnes’s images are gathered into a superb book design by John Nowland, who has given the binding itself an architectural feel. This is a handsome coffee-table book that can still be held in the hand and read.  

Journalist Lance Campbell has been commissioned to write commentary. Disappointingly, his remit seems to have been to produce what reads like marketing copy, rather than more detailed discussions of the projects. And not every project even has commentary. The reader is left wanting information that just isn’t there. This lack lets the book down somewhat. 

However, this is still a winning publication from Wakefield Press. Both a narrative of architectural excellence, and a beautiful object in itself, New South Australian Architecture is the perfect addition to the bookshelf of any proud South Australian, or any fan of contemporary construction and design. 

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Distributed by: Wakefield Press
Released: April 2021
RRP: $49.95

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