Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin synthesized a modern crystallized interior within their Capitol Theatre design (1920–24) in Melbourne. The Capitol’s auditorium, a mine-like cavity, houses a constructed
landscape, elucidating the link between architecture and geological references. Ornamented with prefabricated stepped plasterwork, the auditorium is inserted with opal-coloured light technologies. Through the concept of the “constructed landscape”, this article traces the garish luxury elements found within the Griffins’ Capitol auditorium to understand the design associations between Paul Scheerbart’s Expressionist writings on crystal-glass iconography and William Le Baron Jenney’s symbolic crystal cave. The Griffins’ architectural contribution to the Australian entertainment industry conveys both Jugendstil garden effects and Mesoamerican echoes through its elaborative prismatic ridges. Owing to its transcendental opal allusions, the Capitol’s auditorium shows a constructed landscape model and constitutes a form of garish luxury, exemplifying early Australian glamour.
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