Paradise on Earth
Imagine a place where the natural and built world exist in perfect balance; where the sounds, colours and smells of Sydney’s bush and harbour meld into a sensual fusion of vitality and mystery. In 1920s Sydney, architect Marion Mahony Griffin, in collaboration with her husband and creative partner, Walter Burley Griffin, created this ideal at Castlecrag, a ‘model residential suburb’ built on the picturesque shores of Middle Harbour.
Today, 100 years after the establishment of Castlecrag, and 150 years since Marion Mahony Griffin’s birth, Paradise on Earth explores Mahony’s extraordinary vision and her ongoing inspiration to artists, architects, historians and urban planners. Dramatic installations, immersive digital experiences and stunning objects illustrate her unique approach to art, architecture and design.
Located throughout the Museum of Sydney, the exhibition explores Mahony’s architectural beginnings and aesthetic sensibility; her collaboration with Walter Burley Griffin; and key projects in Australia, including Canberra, the Capitol Theatre and Café Australia, with a special focus on the life and community of Castlecrag. A newly produced film examines Mahony’s ongoing impact and the experience of living in the experimental suburb of Castlecrag in more depth, through interviews with current and former owners of Griffin homes and a selection of architects and other experts in the field.
The Enchanted valley is an immersive space that reimagines Castlecrag’s Haven Amphitheatre, capturing the colours, textures and changing moods of the Australian bushland. Celebrating Mahony’s fascination with and deep respect for the natural environment, the digital day/night sequence draws on the colours and linework of Mahony’s evocative Forest Portraits in unexpected and playful ways. Visitors can also participate in the Forces of Nature activity hub, adding to the collaborative bush artwork and discovering more about Mahony’s belief in the forces that shape and build our natural world.
Enjoy the exhibition after hours as part of Culture Up Late. The Museum of Sydney will open 5pm-8pm every Thursday evening from 14 January until the end of March.
Paradise on Earth
Duration: 52 min
Paradise on Earth curator Dr Anne Watson is joined by other Griffin experts, architects, and current and former residents of Griffin-designed homes to discuss the experience of living in the experimental suburb of Castlecrag, and the significance and enduring impact of Marion Mahony Griffin’s work in Australia.