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Graeme Butler is a heritage architect who has practiced in Melbourne, Australia for near to 40 years. He is principal of the heritage firm Graeme Butler & Associates, and author of many urban conservation and heritage studies and the authority on the Californian bungalow in Australia, which has been described as ...the quintessential work on the form.
Butler studied architecture at the University of Melbourne being one of only three who graduated (1972) with a major in history. This was one result of the Architecture School's broader curriculum, emanating in part from the student strikes at Melbourne University in the 1960s. After graduating he worked as a design assistant at Yuncken Freeman Architects (YFA)on the interior fit-out of the Austin Hospital ward block under the eccentric but brilliant Tony Woodhouse, eventually taking a lead design role on the completion of the Toorak Teachers College library and theatre building under YFA partner Roy Simpson. This building was in the YFA office style as shown by their own superb offices at 411 King Street, Melbourne and BHP house, only white in place of the standard matte black. Simpson said he wanted some `magic' in the new building - so the designer tried for some internal 2 storey spaces and floating stairs, following the firm's preferred Ludwig Mies van der Rohe model. Butler then worked with McIntyre & McIntyre, on the pioneering recycling of the Henry Jones Jam Factory at Chapel street, Prahran, as a shopping centre cinema. However his major architectural role was as the project designer of the Museum Underground Railway Station fit-out and MURLA graphics documentation, with Perrott Lyon Timlock & Kesa, under associate David Simpson. The design of the Victorian Teachers Union offices in Camberwell was his last major architectural work before taking a professional role in his growing interest in urban conservation. Before forming his own heritage consulting practice and still working for the architecture and planning firm Perrott Lyon Mathieson, Butler completed one of the first heritage studies of the Melbourne Central Business District, undertaken for the newly created Historic Buildings Preservation Council, in the mid 1970s.
He has undertaken numerous other heritage studies in Victoria including many Melbourne suburbs as well as Geelong, Bendigo, and the Macedon Ranges. He has been described as one of ...Australia’s most significant practitioners and researchers in heritage and conservation. He was the founding Secretary of the Council for the Historic Environment and later editor of the Council Journal Historic Environment, which launched in 1980.
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