The House that Horse Built: Renovation and Rejuvenation

Mid-century modern is an architectural, interior, product and graphic design that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture and urban development. The 1950’s represent the decade most commonly associated with this modernist movement. It is a minimalist approach to architecture and building that could be compared to the Swans’ football style of the mid 2000’s: very much a minimalist approach, focused upon effort, not talent. At the conclusion of that decade, John Longmire collected the keys to the house that Paul Roos built.

It takes intricate planning in order to achieve the level of detail so relevant to the style. And the style is proven. Longmire has experienced the most successful five-year tenure in the club’s history. Now firmly entrenched as a top-line senior coach in charge of a top-line football club, the challenge is to remain as such. With game-styles changing so increasingly frequently, updating outdated football ideas and philosophies demands perpetual interrogation. This season, Horse will be seeking a modern reinterpretation of football from a period in time that inspired a red and white revolution.

Architecture of the 1950’s saw groundbreaking changes in design that swept across the world. True to the pioneering spirit of the age, an exciting new direction hallmarked by structural change, astonished and impressed. In recent seasons, the Sydney Swans have embarked on their very own successful journey of change, incorporating speed and outside run as the focal point. Players such as Jetta, Goodes, Cunningham, Towers, Brandon Jack, Rohan and Shaw provided the impetus for this new direction. Together with the recruitment of big-name forwards, this game-style provided a perception of a super efficient, almost audacious version of the Sydney Swans.

While the new direction brought success, the rejuvenation of the list brings with it a need for renewed emphasis to the ‘less is more’ approach. Change is often required when the core structure may no longer be groundbreaking. This may just be the case for the celebrated Swans midfield of the past five years. The recent recruitment of first-round draft picks Zak Jones, Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills signifies the intent to solidify our ball-winning at the contest. Along with Mitchell, Parker, Hannebery and Kennedy, we may just possess the finest young brigade in this crucial aspect of the game.

In this age of the consumer, of instant gratification, this rejuvenation process may take a winter or two to reach the lock-up stage. It may not. But whatever the case, the Bloods of old will resurface. And much like Phillip Johnson’s glasshouse in Connecticut, it will be a pure exercise in transperancy and minimalist structure. A style in keeping with the revered 1950’s South Melbourne Blood Stained Angels, like Ron Clegg, Bobby Skilton, Fred Goldsmith, Bill Gunn and Gordon Lane; no fuss, no luxuries.

It’s the modern interpreting of a tried and true style that makes this phase so exciting. A team built on the most solid of footings, entering a new frontier in design, with a hardworking gang of tradesmen looking to make their mark on history. My hope is that the rejuvenation of the Sydney Swans brings as much glee and reverence as past eras. With possibly our most exciting bunch of Cygnets in memory, being guided by hardened professionals, my hopes are high. With pillars such as Goodes, Shaw and Pyke being replaced by fresh, shiny building blocks like Sinclair, Talia and Mills, it’s a new phase alright, but just like any renovation project, the rewards will come. Whenever that might be.

With a refreshed, slightly redesigned game-style, the Bloods may be going against the mass produced, and looking to speak a different language than recent seasons. But to be remarkable, a preparedness to tinker with design is essential. With Horse at the helm, all Swans are looking forward to this next development, the next phase of something memorable and meaningful.

About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

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