The archive relates to the career of architect and town planner, Ernest Fooks (1906-1985), it includes drawings for residential, commercial and civic projects, including presentation drawings, design and construction drawings, and clippings from British and American architectural magazines.
Ernest Fooks was born Ernst Fuchs in Pressburg (now Bratislava) in 1906, in the former Czechoslovakia, and his family moved to Vienna in 1908. He studied architecture at Technical University Vienna (TUWien) beginning the three-year degree in architecture in 1924. After a two-year interlude during which he studies psychology, Fuchs completed his architecture degree in 1929. He obtained a doctorate in technical sciences in 1932 with a thesis titled Stadt in Streifen (‘Linear City’) completed under the supervision of prominent Viennese architect Siegfried Theiss. He went into private practice that year, entered competitions, published articles and exhibited his paintings. He practised until 1938 when he was forced to flee as the Nazi government made it increasingly difficult for Jews to remain in the country and with his Latvian-born wife Noemi, he migrated to Melbourne via Canada in May 1939.
In Melbourne Fooks found a position with Frank Heath at the Housing Commission of Victoria which he retained throughout the war, resigning in 1948 to establish a private practice. In Melbourne Fooks found a position with Frank Heath at the Housing Commission of Victoria which he retained throughout the war, resigning in 1948 to establish a private practice. He was appointed first lecturer in town planning at the Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT University), c. 1944, remaining there until 1954. In 1948 he established a large and prosperous private practice, mainly – but not entirely – domestic in nature; flats being a speciality. He served as president of the Jewish Society of Arts in the 1960s and designed the national Jewish Memorial Centre in Canberra (1971). Fooks died in 1985.
The collection at the RDA was given to RMIT University School of Architecture and Design in 1989 by his widow Noemi Fooks (née Noemija Matusevic, 1909-2013) to The University of Melbourne, the State Library of Victoria, The Jewish Museum of Australia, and the Jewish Holocaust Museum. In 2008 the collection was transferred to the RMIT Design Archives.
Collection organized chronologically by project, 29 boxes in total, with most of the projects dating from the 1950s. Most of the projects documented are residential, including flats, however there are also commercial and civic projects, for example the archive for the National Jewish Memorial, Canberra is held in Box 14. Boxes 21 to 23 have magazine articles on a variety of topics, including residential, commercial and civic work. These are clippings dating from the 1940s until the 1970s from various architectural magazines, such as Progressive Architecture, Architectural Forum, Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Architectural Record. A copy of the publication ‘X-ray the City!: the density diagram: basis for urban planning’ by Ernest Fooks is held in Box 21.