Imagine a place where the natural and built world exist in perfect balance; where the sounds, colours and smells of Sydney’s bush and harbour meld into a sensual fusion of vitality and mystery. In 1920s Sydney, architect Marion Mahony Griffin, in collaboration with her husband and creative partner, Walter Burley Griffin, created this ideal at Castlecrag, a ‘model residential suburb’ built on the picturesque shores of Middle Harbour.
Today, 100 years after the establishment of Castlecrag, and 150 years since Marion Mahony Griffin’s birth, Paradise on Earth explores Mahony’s extraordinary vision and her ongoing inspiration to artists, architects, historians and urban planners. Dramatic installations, immersive digital experiences and stunning objects illustrate her unique approach to art, architecture and design.
Located throughout the Museum of Sydney, the exhibition explores Mahony’s architectural beginnings and aesthetic sensibility; her collaboration with Walter Burley Griffin; and key projects in Australia, including Canberra, the Capitol Theatre and Café Australia, with a special focus on the life and community of Castlecrag. A newly produced film examines Mahony’s ongoing impact and the experience of living in the experimental suburb of Castlecrag in more depth, through interviews with current and former owners of Griffin homes and a selection of architects and other experts in the field.
A reimagining of Castlecrag’s Haven Amphitheatre captures the colours, textures and changing moods of the Australian bushland, celebrating Mahony’s fascination with and deep respect for the natural environment. The immersive digital day/night sequence draws on the colours and linework of Mahony’s evocative Forest Portraits in unexpected and playful ways.
The exhibition will be held at the Museum of Sydney from 7 November to 18 April 2021 and you can learn more here.