Architect of Robb College to give lecture

Published 17 November 2010

dupain_robb_college_smlOn Tuesday 23 November 2010 the University of New England Heritage Centre is hosting a free public lecture at UNE’s Dixson Library by noted Australian architect Michael Dysart.

Dysart’s lecture, titled “The Manifesto of Natural Materialism: The Design of Robb College”, will recount his initial impressions of the University and the architectural influences that shaped his design for UNE’s most distinguished modern movement building.  

In 1958, twenty-four year old Michael Dysart, newly graduated from the University of Sydney, was awarded a cadetship with the NSW Government Architect’s Office. One of his first jobs was designing a college for the University of New England. Established as the “Third College” after Wright and Mary White, Robb College was named in honour of William Menzies Robb, the first Registrar of the University. Although the project had a tight budget, Dysart showed great skill in avoiding bland homogeneity by creating a series of distinctive spaces. His work on Robb College received high praise in architectural circles, including from the influential critic Robyn Boyd, and attracted national attention. Dysart went on to enjoy a very successful career with a practice spanning domestic, government and commercial work.

Also at Dixson Library is Rock-Solid Robb: A Celebration of 50 Years, an exhibition of drawings and photographs, including several by renowned photographer Max Dupain, showcasing the interior and exterior architecture of Robb College. The exhibition was curated by Emma Johnston, UNE Student Volunteer working with Ian Stephenson and Michelle Arens, the University Curators, and, and runs until 6 Feb 2011.

Michael Dysart’s lecture, “The Manifesto of Natural Materialism: The Design of Robb College”, will take place in the FJH Letters Room of UNE’s Dixson Library at 11.00 am.

Enquiries to: Ian Stephenson, University Curator

Tel: 02 6773 6466; Email:

Photo caption: Robb College photographed by Max Dupain. Courtesy of Michael Dysart.