Cultural Meanings Embedded in the Facade of Italian Migrants' Houses in Brisbane, Australia
journal article

In the Post-WWII period, while industrial production in Italy had diminished and millions of people were unemployed, Australia was facing the opposite problem of shortage of labour, due to a rapid agricultural and industrial development. By virtue of the immigration policy adopted by the Australian government in the 1950s, assistance with the cost of migration to Australia was provided to those Italians willing to migrate to Australia. Italian migrants, as well as diverse migrant groups, brought with them cultural practices and a way of life, which are nowadays part of the multicultural Australian built environment and society. This research study focuses on the domestic dwellings built in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Brisbane by the Italian migrants. Namely, it is argued that the façade of migrants’ houses is embedded by cultural meanings. The study is of qualitative nature and as primary sources of data uses (1) semi-structured interviews, (2) photo-elicitation interviews and (3) focus group discussion, which were conducted both in Australia with twenty first-generation Italian migrants, and in Italy with ten informants, indigenous to the Veneto region, where they built their homes. Visual data about the houses was collected with (4) photographs and drawings. The findings reveal that Italian houses are concurrently a physical structure and a set of meanings based on culture: these two components are tied together rather than being separate and distinct. Namely, the Veneto migrants chose two models for the construction of their houses in Brisbane: (1) the rural houses built in the 1970s and 1980s by their ancestors (2) and the villas designed by Andrea Palladio in the 15th century in the Veneto region for noble families.


Australia; migration; housing culture; physical factors

Faggion, Laura and Raffaello Furlan. "Cultural Meanings Embedded in the Facade of Italian Migrants' Houses in Brisbane, Australia." Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research. Vol. 11, issue 1, 2017: 119-137.

ISSN 1938-7806. OCLC 145980807; LOC 2007212183.
Parent Publications
Laura Faggion, Raffaello Furlan
vernacular architecture