The Miles Lewis Heritage Building Materials Collection

Collection in wooden cabinets at the Melbourne School of Design, Glyn Davis Building.
The collection is located at the Melbourne School of Design, Glyn Davis Building.

The Miles Lewis Heritage Building Materials Collection consists of over 300 objects ranging from nails to roofing sheets, collected by Professor Miles Lewis throughout his career.

Used by the Architecture, Building and Planning Faculty in its teaching program for many years, the collection provides an insight into common construction materials and techniques in Australia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

3D scans of the objects enable exploration of their scale and texture (noticing, for example, the thumbprint in one of the bricks) and trace the European influences on Australian architectural methods.

Explore the past, present and future of the collection

Professor Miles Lewis, collector and curator, explains the collection’s history, significance and future prospects.

Meet the Project Stakeholders

Discover more about the individuals involved in the project. Each of them brings different expertise to the project. Explore their stories and learn about the challenges posed by the project, their motivation,  and what they hope for the future of the collection.

As well as the 3D scanning, the project processes included  cataloguing the collection to understand its extent, creating metadata,  and creating the accompanying videos and website.  These activities give meaning, context and an enhanced understanding of objects.  

This project was defined by three characteristics:  curiosity, innovation, and accessibility. From being tucked away in a cabinet, people anywhere can now interact with and manipulate the 3D objects as well as learning more about their provenance  and their historical significance.

With thanks to the Vera Moore Foundation for their generous support of this project.