It was with wistful resignation we recently read through Simon Reeve’s all encompassing round-up of notables and influencers of Australian Mid-Century Architecture who left us in 2015*. Though only 1 week in to 2016, we now note the loss of one more, an Australian architect at the heart of Modernist Australia’s very inception – Neil Everist, of Melbourne/Geelong firm McGlashan Everist.
As our about page says, we were fortunate to live our first 18 years in a home designed by McGlashan Everist, commissioned by our family and in completed in 1970. As a Geelong project it was overseen by Neil Everist (as this is how they generally divvied up the projects). The brilliant yet ephemeral qualities of living within quintessentially Australian Modernist architecture, the rules of its design and the intention in every aspect, dug into our soul and never left – arming us with a heightened sense of what housing in this country could and should be – elemental, light, airy, of integrity and honesty. Last year we finally achieved our goal of bringing together our mother and Everist (and the outstanding Jill Everist) for an afternoon of tea, cakes and chat on architecture, the making of our home, and the projects of his lifetime. Neil Everist was as vital and impressive as his imposing stature (both physically and professionally) suggested. He was beyond gracious, bringing along documents to back-up the historical aspect of his career with late partner David McGlashan and the conversation that wintery July day was as genial and enlightening as we could have ever hoped for. We finished with a shared joke and a wave. We regret that we were unable to collate this meeting into something readable for Neil Everist to look over before this day, but we are now working extra hard to bring it to you in the coming months.
We pass on our deepest sympathies to Jill Everist and family with the reassuring joy of his long life, well lived.
To everyone else we suggest to look up the catalogue from a Heide exhibition in 2006 (re-printed last year) “Living in Landscape: Heide and houses by McGlashan and Everist” for a succinct overview of Everist’s esteemed career. Alternatively crack open any essential ‘top Australian MCM home’ coffee table books – The Forever House or Iconic Australian Houses 50/60/70 for example, inspect one of the many open houses available throughout the year (or on Air BnB!), and/or check the MA site for our regular fawning rants, as you know Neil Everist (and David McGlashan) will always be here.
*Victorian Modern, essential educational Facebookery – join up today.