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Grounds, Romberg & Boyd: Melbourne’s Midcentury Modernists

Grounds, Romberg & Boyd: Melbourne’s Midcentury Modernists

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Publisher: Uro Publications, 2024, ISBN: 9781922601278, Author: Maria Larkins, Format: Softback, layflat binding, 20 x 25cm, 200pp

Grounds, Romberg and Boyd (1953-1962) was one of the most innovative modernist architectural firms ever to practice in Australia. Led by Roy Grounds, Frederick Romberg and Robin Boyd, it would have a role in shaping many enduringly iconic and significant buildings, including Melbourne’s Arts Centre and Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and Canberra’s Shine Dome (Australian Academy of Science). After less than a decade in operation, however, this tripartite powerhouse would implode, overburdened by the weight of its directors’ strident personalities and striving individual ambitions.

Grounds, Romberg & Boyd is the only book ever published on the work of the practice. It is also unusual in that its focus isn’t squarely on the familiar, finished buildings, but the relationship between the three directors and the goings-on behind the scenes. Written by an author with direct personal experience in the administration of some of Melbourne’s more noteworthy contemporary practices, the book gives a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a high profile architecture firm and how it functions—or doesn’t. 

Featuring correspondence between the partners, reproductions of ephemera from the period, as well as drawings and photographs of the practice’s iconic buildings, Grounds, Romberg & Boyd is a richly illustrated exploration of an architectural legacy that, despite its fractious genesis, endures to this day. 

About the author
Maria Larkins is a researcher and writer. After a career in newspapers, she worked from 2004 to 2017 in media relations for architecture practices including LAB Architecture Studio and Kerstin Thompson Architects.