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Garish Luxury and the “Constructed Landscape”: Transcending the Colour of Opals in the Griffins’ Capitol Theatre

School of Design and the Built Environment, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, Perth 6845, WA, Australia
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture Is a Luxury)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: garish luxury; constructed landscape; Jugendstil garden; modern architecture; prismatic Expressionists; Mesoamerican influences; early Australian glamour; opals garish luxury; constructed landscape; Jugendstil garden; modern architecture; prismatic Expressionists; Mesoamerican influences; early Australian glamour; opals
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Condello, A. Garish Luxury and the “Constructed Landscape”: Transcending the Colour of Opals in the Griffins’ Capitol Theatre. Arts 2018, 7, 58.

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