In 1990 the London Architectural Review identified a 'developing Australian tradition of small lightweight buildings, with some Asian affinities, using timber post and beam (or sometimes steel frame) structures, usually clad in timber, fibre-cement sheet or corrugated steel'. This tradition was relatively new to most of the architectural profession, but had developed over a century in the hands of numerous builders and designers.
John Mainwaring's Chapman house is one of numerous award-winning houses to exploit the functional, environmental and aesthetic advantages of lightweight construction. It also exploits the historical resonance of this form. In awarding the Robin Boyd prize to this house, the RAIA jury was impressed by its 'appropriate response to place...The house offers an alternative to the current trend of large waterfront houses designed as 'monoliths'. This more fragmented and informal design arises from an understanding of the fundamental qualities of early beach houses' [Architecture Australia, November-December 1996, p.40].
This collection of drawings, prints and photographs documents the work of a leading architect, whose work reflects an important trend of recent decades.