“I call architecture frozen music.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Back in the dark ages, when I was in school, I remember doing an assignment for history which involved travelling around our local area and taking photos of the various styles of architecture I could find. I’m not sure whether some interest laid dormant, because while I was researching Elsie’s Place I spent quite a bit of time learning about different styles of architecture and furniture design, and found it fascinating.

I’ve discovered a love for the Art Deco style of architecture which flourished in Australia and worldwide in the 1930s and 40s. Some of the indicators of the Art Deco style are vertical towers, geometric shapes, angular outlines and curves such as rounded corners and windows. They were big on decorative panels. Many of the buildings have a nautical feel with balconies resembling the decks of ships and porthole windows.

Art Deco building in Maitland

Art Deco building in Maitland

Recently I took part in a walking tour of my town by the Maitland Historical Society. I knew we had some art-deco buildings in the area but was astonished to find out just how much has survived. It was interesting to have pointed out the different architectural styles just in one small area of the city. Honestly, I must walk around with my head in the clouds most days as I hadn’t noticed much of it before!

Over the weekend I was in Melbourne for the RWA committee meeting and took an extra day to do some sightseeing. I found the Manchester Unity Building in the city and fell in love đŸ™‚ It’s got the first escalators in Melbourne (beautifully detailed), mosaics, and amazing decorative panels. While I stood there gawping and taking photos like a tourist, I watched the workers from that building coming and going and wondered if they felt the same awe I did. Or did they no longer notice the details because they see it every day?

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I need to play tourist in my home town more often, to really notice the details that everyday exposure lets us ignore. I’m doing a photography challenge this year – to take a photo each day for 365 days. Myself and several other people I’m doing the challenge with have commented how they’re noticing their surroundings more.

Have you discovered any hidden gems in your area? Do you take the time to really see the ‘everyday’?