The Inter-War Period (1918-1940)

Simon Reeves has carried out extensive research into the Melbourne architectural scene of the 1920s and '30s.  This includes considerable research and fieldwork into the life and career of Walter Burley Griffin, and, more generally, on the work of Griffin's students, employees and followers in Australia, and the impact of the American Prairire School on Australia architecture.  

He has also documented the careers of many of Melbourne architects of the 1920s and '30s.  This has included new research into many of the more well-known practitioners of the period, such as Cedric Ballantyne, Harry Norris, Bernard Evans, J H Esmond Dorney and Stephenson & Turner, and the documentation and photographic recording of their generally lesser-known projects outside Victoria.  Simon also has a particular interest in researching the careers of Melbourne's  lesser-known architects of the 1920s and '30s, whose names tend to be absent from published secondary sources.  

Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937) and the Prairie School in Australia

Simon Reeves is an acknowledged authority on this celebrated American architect, who worked in Australia from 1911 until 1935, and then in India until his death.   This interest began in the mid-1990s, when Simon worked as a research assistant to Jeff Turnbull and Peter Y Navaretti on the compilation on their catalogue of projects, The Griffins in Australia and India.

Simon contributed much research to the book, and even managed to identify a number no fewer than six Griffin projects that had not previously been documented or published.  He discovered a cache of hitherto unrecorded Griffin drawings in the possession of an engineering firm, and tracked down, and interviewed John Mason, one of the last surviving members of the Griffins' office staff, who had never before spoken on record of this association.  Simon contributed over thirty catalogue entries to the book, as well as a full-length essay on the subject of the Griffins' garbage incinerators in the context of their interest in Anthroposophy.

While employed in AllomxLovell & Associates (now LovellxChen), Simon undertook a review of that firm's earlier Conservation Managament Plan (CMP) for the Capitol Building.  In the office of Heritage Alliance, he completed a CMP for Pholiota, the Griffins' own knitlock home in Heidelberg (2004), and a report exploring conservation options for another knitlock dwelling, the ruinous Wills House in Woodend (2005).  Both projects provided Simon with the opportunity to correct long-held misdatings for the contruction of the buildings.  New research into Pholiota unearthed crucial and hitherto unseen evidence that the building was built as much as two years earlier than previously thought.

Most recently, Simon has been undertaking a new investigation into the Griffins' relatively little-known work in India, in conjunction with fellow Griffin scholar Christopher Vernon (University of Western Australia).  This has included research and fieldwork in Lucknow, Calcutta and London, as well as contact with descendants of Griffin's Indian colleagues and clients.

Simon's interest has included extensive research into the lives and works of Griffins' employees and other local architects who worked in the Prairie School style.  These not only include the well-known names such as Edward Billson, Frederick Ballantyne,  Leslie Grant, Eric Nicholls, Roy Lippincott and Henry Pynor, but also the more shadowy figures such as George Bolwell, Rupert Latimer, John Mason, Kemple McGuiness and George Ozanne.


Other Inter-war Architects

Over the past decade or so, Simon Reeves has attempted to document the lives and careers of some of the lesser-known figures in Melbourne's inter-war architectural scene.  Although he maintains files on many such individuals, those who have been subjected to particularly extenstive research include :

H Garnet Alsop
C Victor Dumbrell
William E Gower (SEC Chief Architect)
Will Grassick (designer/engineer)
D F Cowell Ham
Peck & Kemter
Leslie J W Reed
Muriel Stott (one of Victoria's first female architects)