Vale — E.L.Waller, Architect, August 2020

Words by Donald Bailey AM; B.Arch(MU); Dip Arch (RMIT); LFRAIA; Hon FAIA;(USA), RAIA Gold Medallist 1991

Photo courtesy of Graham Sands.

Edward “Lindsay” Waller received his basic design and drafting experience in Ruwolt’s, one of the largest engineering companies in Australia, based in Richmond, Melbourne. In the late 50’s, Bates Smart and McCutcheon were commissioned to design high-rise commercial office buildings when the priority given to funding post-war housing for returning service people had largely been met. BSM recruited a large contingent of architects and draftspersons; Jeffrey Howlett, Donald Bailey and Lindsay Waller became part of this team.

As there was an urgency for corporations to provide a good early return on investment, ‘Fast-track’ steel-framed construction was employed.

In late December 1960, Howlett & Bailey Architects was established in Perth after winning a national architectural competition to design a new Perth Town Hall, to welcome international visitors to the Commonwealth Games in November 1962.

Lindsay Waller, with his expertise, particularly in threading air-conditioning ducts through steel beams in the ‘fast-track ‘system, and for his skills in structural efficacy was invited to join this partnership.

“Life is a game, the object of which is to discover the object of the game.”
Just a little thought and the discovery becomes apparent in a few words:
It’s WE , not ME”, for humans are essentially social beings. Thus H&B’s team relied significantly on Lindsay for the “practicality and workability” of the firm’s conceptual design.

H&B Architects won a second competition, being the Reserve Bank of Australia, in Canberra, initiated by Dr Nugget” Coombes, then Governor.

In an age where CAD is a tool for determining the enduring form of the civic urban fabric, in recent years H&B have been bestowed by their peers the Institute’s annual “Enduring Architecture Award” (to recognise achievement for design of buildings of outstanding merit which remain as high quality works of architecture, considered in a contemporary context) for each of Council House, and Perth Concert Hall. This latter award is in no small measure due to the personal contribution of structural knowledge and skills by the late Lindsay Waller. And in his dotage, he has been called upon to advise remedying on the inevitable effects of ‘wear and tear’ due to the passage of time.

Lindsay, in a profession where partnerships are often under stress,
I proudly assert that we were indeed a great team, throughout all the yin and the yang of architectural practice.

Au revoir,
“Sheet Anchor” Lins

*Clarification Note: Lindsay Waller left Howlett and Bailey in the early 70’s to become a principal at Forbes and Fitzhardinge, later Forbes and Fitzhardinge Woodland and now part of Cox Architecture.
He left F+F in the late 80’s and once again consulted to Howlett and Bailey and his private projects.