Harold Desbrowe Annear was a prominent Australian architect. He was at the leading edge of the development of the Arts and Crafts movement. At the Working Men’s College (now known as RMIT University), Harold was an instructor during 1890s where he founded the T-Square in 1900s. T-Square was used as a meeting center for Melbourne arts and crafts workers and architects. Club also helped in developing strong Arts and Crafts culture in the city. He was also a follower of Arts and Crafts Society, which was founded in 1908.
Harold Desbrowe was born on 16 August 1865 in Happy Valley, Bendigo, Victoria. Harold was an elder son of James Annear and Eliza Ann. His father was a mining contractor. Harold had six older stepsisters, a brother, and two sisters. In 1875, after his family moved to Melbourne Harold visit in the Hawthorn Grammar School. He joined the school in 1882. He married with Florence Susan Chadwick on 25 July 1891. Due to the implacable differences by the end of the First World War, both Harold and Florence had separated.
Harold Desbrew Annear was restrained to Melbourne architect William Salway in 1883. His knowledge and interest grew up extensively during this time. His architectural sketches and papers have got recognition from the Victorian Institute of Architects. After getting the recognition he chose to start his own practice. He became an advocate during 1890s of the Arts and Crafts movement.
He then established the T-Square Club on an Arts and Crafts program of collaborative work. He established the T-Square club to promote the building crafts. The ‘democratic architecture’ affectionate the Harold and which he shows in his most recognized work. The Eaglemont houses and his journal For Every Man his Home shows his idea of domestic Australian architecture apt for everyone.
The Royal Australian Institute of Architects announced the Harold Desbrowe Annear Award in 1996 to the best residential projects of the year in Victoria. It is the most prestigious award in the state for Residential Architecture.
He built Federation Arch, Princess Bridge in 1901. The fleeting arch was hoisted on the Princess Bridge in the city of Melbourne. It was designed by him to show the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York for the Federation celebrations. The design was influenced by the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ in Paris and Beaux-Arts civic.
In 1903 Harold Desbrowe Annear designed the three houses in Eaglemont which were commissioned by his father-in- law James Chadwick. Design shows that the architect was to grasp the idea o ‘small home’ as one of the most challenging of the20th century. They represent the principles of William Morris in their truth to materials and place, structural ‘honesty’. They also represent the celebration and functionalism of the builder’s craft. The designs are weatherboard with rough cast and half-timbering.
They exhibit many technological innovations these including sliding window sashes, all recessed, modular wall-framing and convection heating vents fireplaces. The houses were rightly positioned with planning on the slope of the hill. They were set like increasing setbacks from the street, so as not to block the views.
Harold Desbrowe Annear’s first Arts and Crafts experiment were Springthorpe Memorial, Booroondara Cemetry, Kew. It was built during 1897-1900. Harold design was influenced by the William Lethaby’s writing on the iconography of the doomed temple form in “Architecture: Mysticism & Myth”. There upon the architecture is symbolic. The temple surveys the idea of the hoped-for union of souls.
One of the most famous houses of Harold Desbrowe Annear was Inglesby, also known as the Francis house, in South Yarra. It was recognized by Robin Boyd as an example of Melbourne’s ‘pioneer modernism’. The design was timber-framed with plain roughcast walls. The design was influenced by the Californian architect Irving Gill. The Inglesby is the center of a large hall entered from the porch. It was belted either side by the dining room. The living room was acquired by the sliding doors which when opened lengthened into a huge living area across the front of the house. Its low ceilings and horizontal flow arrange next to it also to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
He built Desbrowe Annear House-38. The Eyrie Eaglemont, Banyule City.
One of the considerable and architectural significance of Annear is House-234 Rosanna Road Rosanna. It is externally largely undamaged design by him.
He built Macgeorge House-25 Riverside Road Ivanhoe, Banyule City. The Macgeorge House is an ample bungalow also known as Fairy Hills built in 1911. It is situated at the intersection of the Yarra River and Darebin Creek in Ivanhoe.
He built Mulberry Hill-385 at Golf Links Road Langwarrin South, Frankston City. It is remembered as the home of Sir Daryl and Joan Lindsay. It is also remembered as a place attended by the members of the famous Lindsay family.
Harold Desbrowe Annear died on 22 June 1933. He died at St. Kilda. Heart disease was the reason of his death. He hadn’t divorced her wife. In his last moment of life, he was cared by his wife and his two sons James and Hector.