Joseph Reed


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(1823–90) is considered by many as the architect who made Melbourne. Reed won the competition to design the Melbourne Public Library soon after his arrival in 1853. He worked almost exclusively on large, public buildings; the Sargoods' Rippon Lea mansion was a notable exception. Much of Reed's work remains, and helps to define Melbourne as a distinctive Victorian city. This includes the Town Hall, the Exhibition Building, the Trades Hall, and many of the central city churches and banks. Appointed University of Melbourne architect, Reed designed Ormond College and old Wilson Hall. The facade of his Bank of New South Wales building in Collins Street found a new home on the university's Commerce Building. Reed went into partnership with Frederick Barnes in 1862; the firm continues today as Bates Smart. Reed and Barnes won the public competition to design Melbourne's Government House in 1864, but their design was never built. The job was eventually given to the Public Works Department under William Wardell. Historians have offered sharply opposed views of Reed's work., in The Australian Ugliness (1960), called him ‘the supreme eclectic, the master Featurist’. Recent judgments have been more favourable: (Architecture in Australia, 1968) regarded him as the best, as well as the most prolific, of Australia's late colonial architects.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.

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