One of Australia’s most honoured architects Jack Hobbs McConnell AM LFRAIA died recently in Adelaide aged 92.
According to Warren Kerr, national president of the RAIA, McConnell’s influence in shaping the architects and architecture of Australia was considerable. “He pioneered modern architecture in South Australia and was, without doubt, the first serious modernist to build modern buildings in Australia,” Kerr said. “Throughout his long and distinguished career, he retained his ability to lead and inspire others, with a number of Australia’s most prominent architects still acknowledging him as their mentor. He will also be widely remembered for his significant contribution to his profession, as RAIA national president in 1968/69, as a Life Fellow and as an RAIA Gold Medallist in 1970.”
In McConnell’s early career he worked in the offices of some prominent pioneer architects of the modern school, including Harold Desbrowe Annear. In 1937, at the age of 24, he was appointed design assistant to Philip R Claridge, architect for the new Bank of New South Wales building in Adelaide. He subsequently moved to that city, becoming the only architect practising there who designed to the principles of the Bauhaus.
Between 1937 and 1970 he helped establish the firm of Hassell and McConnell, undertaking industrial projects and becoming known as the leading factory architect in Australia.
In 1970 he entered into a partnership arrangement with Stephenson and Turner Architects, carrying out a number of major projects in that role until his retirement in 1980. He then undertook minor consulting work until 1982. McConnell continued his involvement with the RAIA through the South Australian chapter as a member of various committtees until 1992.
Source: Building Products News.