Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Architect and Ceramist: Nell McCredie’s Architectural works

Friday, 15 July 2016

Kirsty Volz is a current PhD candidate with ATCH and is trained in both architecture and interior design.  She worked in architectural and interior design practices for over a decade and now works as a lecturer (part time) in the interior design programme at the Queensland College of Arts (Griffith University).  Kirsty has also completed a Research Master of Arts in Scenography (Set Design).  Much of her research, up until now, has been in the fields of interior design and decoration, and scenographic arts.   

Early in her career Kirsty was working for a small architectural practice in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.  It was during this time that she had heard about a house in the suburb of Wilston that Brisbane City Council had sort to protect from demolition because it was designed by a relatively unknown female architect in the 1920s. This house was Uanda House design by Nell McCredie and it was added to the Queensland State Heritage Register in 2000.  This house, and the process though which it was added the heritage register, had always been of great interest to Kirsty and in 2013 she finally got around to writing something about it for the annual SAHANZ conference (the paper can be read here).  After this paper was published, Kirsty was contacted by McCredie’s family and gifted with McCredie’s significant and previously unknown architectural portfolio.

Kirsty’s research as a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland will examine the work of architect and ceramist Nell McCredie. McCredie was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Sydney’s architecture programme (in 1923). She practised as an architect in the interwar period and then went on to find success as a ceramist in the late 1930s. McCredie's ceramic works are now included in the collections of the Powerhouse Museum and the National Museum of Australia. Much of the existing literature on McCredie has focused on her work as a ceramist and largely ignored her work as an architect. To date, only Uanda House has been recognized as an example of her architectural works, but it is only one of many houses that she completed. Kirsty's thesis will primarily record McCredie's considerable architectural portfolio and built works. Her thesis will also attempt to document McCredie's experiences as a pioneering woman in architecture.