Bridging Continents: Karl Langer’s contribution to housing

Karl Langer was the first architect in our region to advocate for landscape; for the extension of living spaces from inside to outside, for affordable houses tuned to climate, and consideration of “the whole allotment as a unified living area.”

The moment is captured in his first schemes conceived in the early nineteen-forties before the publication of Subtropical Housing in 1944, These offered an alternative to the worker’s cottages constructed in the inter-war period, but also contemporaneous houses by local architects, and prevailing ideas for and against the “Queensland House”. His ideas were advanced through teaching, practice and publication during and after World War Two, ideas that persist in the architectural culture of our region today.

Langer also made a significant contribution to housing in Vienna where his education coincided with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that triggered a housing crisis for the city and exposed Langer to the full range of solutions offered.

How these ideas informed Langer’s approach to housing here will be unpacked along with his later support for the ideas of Le Corbusier, evident in larger commissions prosecuted at the end of his career.


Speaker - Dr Andrew Wilson

Dr Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture in the School of Architecture Design and Planning. In 2023 the research project Medium Hybridness, a collaboration with Ayano Toki and Yohei Omura [parafeeld] was selected for exhibition in the Open Archive component of Unsettling Queenstown, Australia’s contribution to the 18th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition, The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Lesley Lokko. He made a contribution to chapters in Karl Langer: Modern Architect and Migrant in the Australian Tropics, London: Bloomsbury, 2022 edited by Deborah van der Plaat and John Macarthur, to which this presentation is indebted, and Hot Modernism: Queensland Architecture,1945-1975, edited by John Macarthur, Deborah van der Plaat, Janina Gosseye, and Andrew Wilson, London: Artifice Books, 2015. In 2016 he was appointed Head of the Leeds School of Architecture in the United Kingdom.


Please note this is an in-person only presentation. 


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