Our post the other day reporting the demolition of an Iwanoff designed home in Perth touched a nerve with those WA Modernist Australians who emphatically decry such vandalism. Fair play to you, we know its #notallperth. And let it be said that across this entire country and on a semi-regular basis we lament and damn Australia en masse for the loss of significant and beautiful MCM architecture. So it seemed timely that we went back and finally posted a little roundup we wrote months ago, noting similar tragedies in other locales. It may seem depressing, but let us assure you there are wins here too and it was not very long ago that we never even heard/tell of any wins at all.
First the bad news. The loss of a few gorgeous homes we listed on MA starting with Tunsmore Ave, in Leabrook SA which has reportedly been bought by a building company and is well on the way to a 5 way development of mega houses. Sigh.
We’ve previously mentioned of the loss of Daryl Jackson’s ‘Riley House’ in Sorrento to one of the ugliest concept drawings we’ve ever seen. It bares repeating that it’s one thing to destroy a beautifully designed and crafted residence but its tragic when it’s replaced by something not fit to take up space in any streetscape.
We also had a report of the loss of a home we never listed at the time, but which is so deserving of a little tribute we posted it retrospectively. Vale Flinders Ave in St Ives, still appearing in street view, but apparently razed in May, it too being replaced by an abhorrent assault on the senses.
We finish the bad news with one from Brissy – the not completely surprising but still infuriating loss of Winston Green, now demolished. Thanks to Monique for the update and pics.
Enough mourning, let’s have some good news. Starting with a reminder of the MCM fight flashpoint of Anatol Kagan’s ‘Lind House’ which due to large a dose of media celebrity (and council action) received an interim heritage control by the State Planning Minister and was subsequently bought for a handsome sum by owners who seek to sympathetically update it. This rolling saga not only saved this individual residence from demolition but far more importantly awakened many other councils and locals to address the issue of unevaluated and/or unprotected MCM architecture across the Melbourne and the country.
Coming with that tide was community group Beaumaris Modern who got their party started to roaring success and witnessed an early win with the ongoing campaign to protect the last vestiges of their very valuable MCM architecture, specifically 372 Beach Road, Beaumaris. As per their dispatch mid last year
“372 Beach Road, Beaumaris was identified as being of potential local heritage significance in the City of Bayside Inter-war and Post-war Heritage Study……..At its 25 July 2017 meeting, Council resolved to seek interim heritage protection for the mid-century modern properties in Beaumaris identified in the City of Bayside Inter-war and Post-war Heritage Study. Council is finalising the documentation to seek the interim heritage overlay controls, which is to be submitted today to the Minister for Planning for a decision. If Council’s request is successful, the Minister for Planning will put interim heritage protection in place over 45 Mid-Century Modern properties identified in the study until Council undertakes further strategic work to determine whether permanent protection is warranted.”
We also spotted glad tidings and recognition of MCM love, from a regional paper no less, about an unusually bold home on the river in Geelong which we thought was on borrowed time, but luckily has also landed in a safe harbour.
“The striking architect-designed split level residence sold under the hammer for $980,000 in a drawn out auction in the suburb’s riverside precinct. The house at 112 Camden Rd is one of five in the area to enjoy absolute Barwon River frontage…….McGrath, Geelong agent Wayne Baker said a young family from the coast would turn it into their future home……“They will be restoring and renovating to bring it back to its former glory,” Mr Baker said…….That news will be good news for architecture buffs…….“A lot of people love that era and they will be pleased to hear that it will be enhanced and extended accordingly and keep the period of the home as such with a modern day twist on it.”……..The gabled brick veneer house represents the most recognisable aspects of 1970s architecture, showcasing exposed mission brown timber beams holding the cathedral ceilings, with its split-levels offering various vantages furnished with well-worn shag pile carpets.”
– The Geelong Advertiser, 2nd September 2017
And finally a heart gladdening email we have received a while back from the owner of a Hunters Hill listing we posted back at the start of 2015. Although a positive post at the time (due to mostly to its downtrodden but still elegant beauty) internally we felt this one was a goner – but no! John has stepped in and this home, which was far from safe, let alone liveable and has been revived:
“As derelict as it was (no electricity or running plumbing, rot + termite eaten frame etc) we have managed to breathe new life back into the house, we are enthusiastic modernists though the original house wasn’t conducive for modern family life. We have saved all the key features like the banks windows, floors and spent a great deal of money to get things restored and bought up to code. We had to reworked some of the space to include more bathrooms and laundry. It’s quite seamless now and you wouldn’t really know it had been changed apart from some of the mod cons. It took more than a year to renovate the house itself. We have now just finished with council to do works on the grounds, so those works will start at some point within the next few months.”
Bravo John! We salute you and all those out there with the integrity and grit to see their Australian Modernist dreams come true. Your victory is also ours.