We’ve been dancing around this one for weeks trying to figure out the right tone in which to deliver this remarkable listing. A benchmark in Melbourne, indeed Australian, Modernist history: the first residential commission for architectural legend Peter McIntyre (c.1950-55), one of our first post-war homes to gain a heritage listing (in 1991) and an outright gobsmaking landmark not least because of that boldly pitched roof of soaring windows, including some experimental cantilever construction, created at the behest of the clients who desired a view which did not include the ocean of tiled roofs which engulfed the landscape.
Now, with such glorious history, prodigious design, miraculous build and formal recognition in mind, how to we reconcile it with the litany of refurbishment offenses to which it has since been subjected? Do we take a light-hearted ‘there’s-no-accounting-for-taste’ attitude and pray that the next custodian can peel back the layers of grey daubed paint, baroquery and downlights which litter all surfaces? Do we dive into headlong into culture wars over the dictated ‘must-haves’ of inspirational, anti-design dead-eyes citing media-rooms as a primary offender (a conversion to this home we simply didn’t have the stomach to display in our write up – check the agent link if you dare)? Do we celebrate the possibility that this variety of heavy handed refurbishment which pays no heed to a building’s original intent, ambiance or materials is on its way out (hey, maybe a housing bust really is on the cards!)? Or do we just sigh, shake our heads and utter ‘We just can’t even’?
We’ll let you decide today, dear reader.
*Much of the historical information and all the non listing images are attributed to Simon Reeves and his wonderful knowledge of this home in his group – Victorian Modern – join up for one of the most learned and amusing commentaries about our Modern heritage in the digital ether.