Large collection of drawings, plans, photographs, correspondence, publications and ephemera related to the career of Frederick Romberg (1913-1992), and architectural firms of Stephenson & Turner; Grounds, Romberg & Boyd; Romberg & Boyd. It also includes records relating to Robin Boyd (1919-1970).
Frederick Romberg was an eminent Australian modernist architect and academic whose work exemplified his ideals of a well-built, functional architecture that embodied European modernism while responding to Australian conditions. This collection also encompasses the work of Robin Boyd (1919-1970), an equally eminent Australia modernist architect, author and critic, who worked in partnership with Romberg for three decades.
Born in China, of German descent, Romberg spent his childhood and teenage years in Germany. From 1933 until 1937 studied architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH-Z). In 1938 he accepted a scholarship from the Swiss Federal Board of Education, and travelled to Australia, where he soon found employment with the architectural firm, Stephenson & Turner. In 1940 he established a brief partnership with Mary Turner Shaw. They completed several significant works including Newburn flats (designed in 1939). He was in solo practice from 1941 until 1953. During World War II Romberg was requisition by the Allied Works Council and sent to Alice Springs (1943–44). He was discharged in 1944 and spent the remainder of War with the Public Works Department. The post-war years were dominated by projects for the developer Stanley Korman, two of which Stanhill flats (1943–51) and Hilstan (1947, demolished) became icons of the modernist movement in Melbourne.
In 1953 Romberg joined forces with (Sir) Roy Grounds (1905-1981) and Robin Boyd, CBE (1919-1971) to establish Grounds, Romberg and Boyd, one of the most innovative architectural practices in Australia. Romberg became the specialist in industrial, commercial, and institutional work. The ETA Factory (1957) became a benchmark for modern factory design. Other significant projects during this period included Sacred Heart Girls’ School (1954) and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (1960) in Canberra; Ormond College buildings Picken Court (1959), MacFarland Library (1962), and McCaughey Court (1965). These projects led to the commission for the Microbiology building (1965) at the University of Melbourne. The partnership of Grounds, Romberg and Boyd dissolved in 1962 following a dispute about the commission for the Melbourne Arts Centre, which was carried out by Grounds alone. In 1965 Romberg became the foundation professor of architecture at the University of Newcastle. While in this post he designed the Architecture Building (1968) and the Newcastle City Council offices (1970) in conjunction with the local firm Suters. In 1975 he retired from the university as emeritus professor.
From 1962 until 1971 Romberg and Boyd retained their practice in East Melbourne. Returning to Melbourne in 1975, Romberg conducted a small practice from his new home in Hotham Street, East Melbourne. In 1980 Romberg and his family had changed their name by deed poll to Romney.
During his lifetime Robin Boyd (1919-1970) was a prolific writer and an influential voice within the Australian architectural profession and further afield. He was born in Melbourne, and commenced articles with the Melbourne architectural practice of A & K Henderson in 1937, while attending evening classes at Royal Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT University) until 1940. During this time he also attended classes at the University of Melbourne Architectural Atelier. In 1939 he was the founding editor of Smudges, and wrote for this journal until 1942, and also for Lines, the journal of the Victorian Architecture Students Association. During World War II Boyd joined the Australian Imperial Forces. He registered as an architect in 1946, and the following year published Victorian modern, the first history of modern architecture in Victoria. It was the first of many publications, other notable books include The Australian Ugliness (1960) and Living in Australia with Mark Strizic (1970). From 1947 until 1953 he wrote a weekly column for The Age newspaper. Boyd commenced sole practice in 1947, designing innovative modern family homes. From 1947 until 1953 he was the director of the RVIA small homes service. In 1952 he became the founding editor of Cross-Section, a broadsheet published by the University of Melbourne on architectural practice for students. In 1953 he joined Roy Grounds and Frederick Romberg in partnership. In 1962 when the Gromberg partnership dissolved, Boyd and Romberg formed a partnership. In the mid-1960s he became involved in design of two Australia pavilions at the world expositions Expo 67, Montreal, and Expo 70, Osaka. In 1969 Boyd was the recipient of the RAIA Gold medal and in January 1971 was made a CBE Commander, Order of the British Empire.
The collection is arranged chronologically and is listed by job and partnership. There are 84 boxes, specifications and correspondence are filed separately to drawings. Boxes 73 to 83 contain the photographic archive for Grounds, Romberg and Boyd, and these are arranged alphabetically job title. A detailed inventory is available.