A Boyd night out

Ever wanted to pop into Boyd’s legendary home in Walsh St? Perhaps wanted to say hi to us? Well tomorrow night you can do both as we venture into the weeds of ‘Midcentury Modernism in a Post Ironic World’ – the third instalment of the Boyd Foundation’s Heritage Speaker Series as part of the ‘Robin Boyd Centenary of Design’ year long celebrations.
We are honoured to sit beside heavy hitters Debbie Ryan, Adele Winterage, Erna Walsh forming a quartet of Melbourne design lady-power and talking all things Modernist, irony, trend and identity. We would love you to swing by and join the chat, so come on over!

Post irony is a term used to connote a state in which earnest and ironic intents become muddled – is modernism simply a trend on repeat or does it have deeper connections to modern living?

Post-Ironic Modernism – Heritage Speaker Series #3 

Wednesday 16th May 6.30 – 8.30pm
@ 290 Walsh St, South Yarra.
Tickets can be bought here.

The art of Australian Modernist suburbia

With the rise of Mid-Century Modernist architecture in the wider cultural gaze of Australia and our recent past, it comes as no surprise to see a dovetailing ascent of such buildings as the subject in Australian fine art. The results show up in the galleries and socials, with varying degrees of acumen and creative skill.
The beautiful paintings of Eliza Gosse, to our minds, are a lovely example with her architectural background informing the arrangement and lines, and the washed out tonal quality of her painting a distinct reading of memory and reminiscence.
Presently the artist is working toward a new exhibition (slated for this August at May Space Gallery) which will depict Australian MCM homes of suburbia coupled with quotes of childhood recollections, in a set of wry and engaging works.
Below, a few examples have been imparted to us for a sneek peak. 

The artist is currently seeking more homes and stories within her intent:
“… to humanise these buildings and raise awareness for the place they have in Australia’s history.”
And so to those of you lucky enough to have spent formative years in a swingin’, savvy or simple Modernist home across the country, here is your invitation to contact the artist and possibly have a little slice of your own MCM history documented within a work of art and collection of of stories.

*Eliza Gosse is here, contact her with your great tales of MCM childhood homes.

A warm welcome to AGA!

You may have noticed a new image pop up on our site in recent days and it’s with warm salutations we welcome Architects Group Australia aboard the good ship MA. This Melbourne based organisation is a collective of registered architects offering services such as consultation, reports and/or drafting within a transparent, fixed-price arrangement. For whatever project you may have be it residential or commercial AGA offer a simple and direct access architectural expertise within your individual budget.

And  FYI – if these kinds of services and practitioners are what you’re looking for to complete that special MCM flavored renovation, dream build or historically sensitive refurb then stay tuned – we’ll have very big site news in the coming weeks!

Robin Boyd – A Centenary of Design

It would be very remiss of us to not remind you all about the entire year of celebratory events the Robin Boyd Foundation has locked and loaded in for 2019. In celebration and homage for Australian architecture’s largest luminaries, in what would be his 100th year (if he hadn’t exited the building far too early) this long-play birthday party includes everything from house tours, topic expert speakers, exhibitions, films nights, concerts, commemorative stamps (did you get yours?) and discussion panels (perhaps including a special guest appearance from us!).

Boyd’s enduring and expanding legacy is reflected in this program with a myriad of community partners coming onboard to help celebrate including Parks Victoria, The National Trust, Australian Institute of Architects (Vic), Melbourne and Monash Universities, The State Library and Open House Melbourne and in varied locations from ground zero at his Walsh Street house in South Yarra to Shepparton, Koroit to Sydney and Adelaide.

Over the coming months we’ll be cherry picking a few of these events to highlight in detail. But in the meantime, get over to the Boyd Foundation’s dedicated program page, peruse the offerings and book in before it’s sold out.

More runs on the board!

We’d like at this juncture to give a shout out to all those MCM home purchasers out there who spotted their new beloved on Modernist Australia and had the conviction, passion and (in some cases finance) to take it all the way. We love hearing your tales and knowing that we, all, as a collective of appreciators, are making a nice dent on the market and subsequent preservation culture of Australian Modernist and Mid-Century streetscapes.

We’ve already taken a bow over (and booked ourselves into) the astounding ‘Fender Residence’ which is set to enjoy a comeback on all the design and housey media henceforth (keep an eye out for the fancy mag spreads near you).

“We’ve been following the Modernist website for many years now, we actually found our home on your site – we’re forever thankful and love what you do.” – Katie, owner and restorer of ‘Fender House’

And speaking of pedigree Melbourne homes, another ripper has also been snapped up by an MA + Charles Duncan enthusiast, the gorgeous, virtually all original ‘Reade House’ – that’s some most excellent news right there!

“Hi, after seeing the Charles Duncan in Briar Hill on your FB pages I arranged to go with two friends to an open for fun and viewing pleasure……..Thrilled to let you know that one of my friends (who adores her leased Charles Duncan) is buying the one in Briar Hill and not changing a thing, thank you, another one saved and in adoring hands” – Caroline, MCM trooper.

 

Next up is one which set hearts afire just this past month gone and we know there will be a bunch of jealous peep out there, but nonetheless Northumberland Rd in Pascoe Vale is now off the market and in very safe Australian Modernist hands.

“Thanks to this page – we will now own this incredible home! We weren’t even in the market for a new home, but when this original beauty was posted- and being in such a great family friendly location, we had to have a look! Then one by one we fell like dominos for this house- first my husband and I, then our kids and every single family member since. We are looking to retain the home largely as is- as it’s even more breathtaking in reality. The original owners are looking to pass on the original history of the home along with some of the artwork and furniture to us. It’s an absolute dream come true- we never thought we’d own an original mid century home. After being married in at the Robin Boyd Welsh St house and honeymooning in Palm Springs- it will be in good hands with long time mid century fans” – Nicky.
 
 

Now time to hear form a seller, rather than buyer and for all you agents reading this – check out what beautiful MCM design, shown respect and duly celebrated can achieve- nothing short of an usually quick sale in the relatively remote regional town of Armidale, NSW.

“Thank you for listing our MCM house. It has sold in 6 weeks, in our small country town where the average sale period is 18 weeks, to a young Midcentury aficionado for a good price……..The sale video gained 11,000+ views on facebook for a house in a town with a population base of 26,000 people, so there is enthusiasm out there for modernist design.Your efforts bear fruit! Keep up the good work.” – Lyn
 
 
And really there is nothing more reassuring than contact from an owner of a home we felt for sure was a goner, such as this sculpture-like salute to Mid-Century beach ‘burb design dating from the early 1950s………
“I am the new owner of 9 Sydney Road, Warriewood – a house featured on your site. Wanted to let you know I was given the plans from the owners as a present when we bought the house. They were tendered in 1953 / 54. 
We are very happy with our purchase and while we do want to make some minor changes we will try and keep as much of the house similar to what it is now.” – Jo, owner by the beach
 
 
And finally, just sometimes all we need is the cheerful word from a neighbor with a keen eye……
“I enjoyed your post on 703 Stedman Cres. I live next door to it. Shes a real beauty. I can find out the architect from the new owners as they have all the records. Luckily the new owners love the old girl and her original features so I don’t expect any render!” – Alister.
 
Love it Alister!
Love it all to bits!

Canberra Modern is back!

The closest we get to Palm Spring Modernism Week, in terms of celebrating our own MCM heritage en masse with plenty of home tours, guest speakers and cocktail mixers to loosen our learned minds – Canberra Modern – is back! Starting next week (13th April – 5th May) you’ll have so many choices to make. Do you set out to absorb the indigenous, Modernist housing dream in situ at Urambi Village with the architect himself, Michael Dysart as guide (we listed a home in sister development Wybalena Grove just last year)? Do you get your fash on with the Marion Hall Best exhibition or Marimekko talk (oops – already sold out!)? 

Do you check out Rosso in full suburban flight in his Design Nation show? Or (our particular fav this year) get on the bus and stop at Canberra’s collection of iconic Modern bus stops with artist Trevor Dickinson? In any case, and with any MCM taste, there is a little somethin’ – somethin’ for you all and we’d suggest for East – coasters a road trip should be in order to really soak in all up (along with a dirty martini or four at Robin Boyd’s Manning Clarke House c.1952).
Check the website for the full program and ticket purchases and remember after all there’s no Australian Modern quite like Canberra Modern.

The Paganin House phoenix on ABC TV.

Everyone’s favourite architect ’bout town, Stuart Harrison, walks onto the box tomorrow night in a triumphant return of ABC’s Restoration Australia. Triumphant because he’ll be profiling the remarkable rebuild of Iwan Iwanoff’s masterpiece – Paganin House – which as many of us sadly recall was reduced to ashes back in 2015, while its proud owners were away on holiday. For all intents and purposes (and perhaps apart from the current fight to save the Sirius Building) this is the most dedicated effort to preserve a piece of Australian Modern history we’ve witnessed, a truly jaw-dropping effort of money, passion and grit.
So tell everyone you know from fellow MCM fans to all those interested in the usual commercial dreck of ‘renovation’ shows to the aspirational devotees of Grand Designs, for this one episode shall blow them all away. 

For those of you more inclined to imbibe their Australian Modern in the aural, rather than visual, fashion then click here for a 10 minute interview with Stuart Harrison and owner Tim Bult.

Restoration Australia (s.2), premiers tomorrow night, Sunday 17th March at 7.40pm. And will be available thereafter on iview for your viewing pleasure, at a time of your leisure. 

Another loss

Shattered we are this morning to see the report from Beaumaris, where one our absolute favourite, architect designed and immaculate houses we listed back in 2016 has been knocked over to make way for townhouses. See our original listing here.

 

To say nothing of those magnificent mature trees and landscaping.

All of the beautiful and lost artistry of joinery, tiles, fittings as well as the valuable timbers have not been retrieved.

All is rubbish. All is skipped and bound for the tip. And the more all damned we are for allowing a society to become so feckless and wasteful.

Congrats to the lucky ones!

We always adore hearing the success stories, the validation of goals here at Modernist Australia and the relief of knowing a deserving listing has landed into loving hands. And often we are super jelly too, such in the case of the killer in Kanofski St, as new owner Michelle advised us joyfully of their purchase……

“We’ve been meaning to email you for months to THANK YOU for alerting us to the auction of this modernist gem in Brisbane via instagram – which we bought!………We wanted to assure you that since we have moved in, NO surfaces have been rendered white, nor anything removed or destroyed……. We connected with the original architect on auction day and he relayed a good deal of the history to us (he designed it for his parents as an architecture student in 1969) which we shall dutifully document over the coming years… “
We also have a second shout out to Modernist Australian, Olivia, who let us know that they are now the proud owners and soon to be renovators of the elegant Edinburgh Rd, Castlecrag.
 
Huzzahs and thank goodnesses all round! And please – let us know of any more!

Xmas Wishlist #1 : Beaumaris Modern book

The rise of Beaumaris Modern, the preservation/celebration community residing in primo bayside Melbourne, has been a heartening development in the recognition and fight to secure our Australian Mid-Century Modern legacy. In just a couple of years this passionate gang of go-getters have evolved from appreciation website to local activists to open house & festival organisers extraordinaire. We’d urge anyone across the country who see their own patch being deformed by poor planning, negligible heritage assessments, unchecked ‘development’ and ignorant (and/or venal) councillors would do well to contact the leaders at Beaumaris Modern for a pep talk, direction of how and where to take the MCM fight and also when to spare negativity for more inclusive celebration (flies, honey etc).
The next stage of their increasing footprint is in-print with the timely arrival (for all your Christmas needs) of ‘Beaumaris Modern’ an absolute stunner of a publication. This lovely and sizeable book is a walk through some of the best residences in the Victorian crucible of MCM talent, and man-o-man what homes! A collection of cherished residences from the likes of Robin Boyd, Mockridge Stahl & Mitchell, Martin Sachs and David Godsell with in depth descriptions from BM lead, Fiona Austin, with contributions by Alison Alexander, Built Heritage oracle Simon Reeves and impeccable photography by Jack Shelton and Derek Swalwell, all delivered in the confines of sleek, hardcover, Modern graphica.

You can peruse and purchase a simply limitless number of flickable tomes about MCM design from overseas from UK Brutalist public housing to Fire Island Modern to Case Study Houses but it sure is nice to have comparably beautiful publications about our very own backyard and design heroes. As Molly says; do yourself (or the archi nerd in your life) a favour and check it out.

‘Beaumaris Modern’ will be released on the 1st December and is available for pre-order now.

Chancellor House II- under demolition.

We’ve just received the news from Keely (bittersweet thanks) that the magnificent Chancellor House II, yes David Chancellors own family home which he designed himself c.1957 and rebuilt again after a fire c.1970 (and which we listed last year) now has cyclone fencing around it. It has a demolition permit approved in City Of Whitehorse register and (surprise friggin surprise!) a permit approval for 2 dwellings. No doubt these two townhouses will be some of the most innovative, well conceived, architect designed and crafted homes of already assumed historical value to dovetail beautifully with those majestic, 50 year-old trees which we are sure will be left standing, cooling all as summer fast approaches and keeping the green suburban character alive, ultimately ensuring that the destruction of such a fine and livable example of our influential architectural heritage, materials and design will not be in vain.

Or maybe not.

White Australia Policy

Australia, we have a white supremacy problem.

We have witnessed with a keen eye the rise of home coveting (of which we can certainly take part blame) and ‘improvement’ to the point of fetishisation. We’ve seen the ascension of a privileged class of ‘designers’, cum lade graduates from the school of ‘I Saw You Coming’, a veritable flock of stylists over substance whose modus operandi is of very limited scope and can be best expressed in the the following terms: Antique, Vivid, Whisper & Natural. It’s time to put the brush down.

Arh! Our eyes!

As Australians we are quite rightly addicted to light. Those who have spent time in autumnal European climes will have pined for the brilliance of even a mid-winter Hobart sun. It is piercing, it is warmth, it is magnificent. Going full Trump we’ll happily state: we have the best sunlight, the best. In this knowledge and also knowing the role natural light plays as a defining feature of Modernist design, Australian Modernist homes have reaped the rewards. Other homes which have paid no heed to such elemental foundations and which continue to rise today in greenfield estates across the nation have instead embraced white as a way to bring extra light into the build. Refreshing older modest or mediocre homes generally involves a paint over of white. Thousands, perhaps millions, of kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms have been de-dagged with white tiles, paint and surfaces. To this end and within trend, this is maybe not such a bad thing. The bad thing occurs when white takes over. When it becomes the default. When not only average homes are snowed under, but also those with beautifully considered places of shadow and dark. Where cheap and nasty surfaces smother and destroy original raw brick, natural timber and coloured tile because of lazy, mass-market ideas about white supremacy, instead of carefully considered concepts of dark and light and material interplay.

34 Yarraville Rd, Kew (a Robin Boyd Home deformed into unrecognisable white space)

The plain truth is we are starting to have our retinas burned by blanc. Cosy spaces of depth being turned into Wonkavision studios. Elegant rooms ever changing with the sun’s rotation transformed into static labs. White is clean and sleek but it can also be cold, impractical, hard and above all, not the intent of the original architect and/or owner. Sometimes it’s just not the vibe and should it never be forced, and right now we believe it requires en masse restraint.

Fern Tree House by McGlashan Everist (c.1969) illustrates gorgeous dark and light and the irrelevance of white interiors.

Light is essential and the use of white in interiors can be magical but trends come and go, materiality plays a role and darkness is not something to shunned out of hand. We like to see those who call themselves professionals and/or ‘influencers’ in the world of home and interior design check themselves, understand the nuance of white and dark and work to curb the white walkers mindless advance. What say you Modernist Australians?

Modern Events pt 2. “Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston” at Heide

Next up on the event trail is a new exhibition about to open that MCM progressive laboratory, known otherwise Heide, tracing the life and work of our most celebrated designer couple Grant and Mary Featherston.
‘Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston’ (showing 30th June – 7th October) will display an all encompassing selection of work – not just the famous furniture but also promotional design, sculpture and photography and offers a wonderfully documented take on the Twentieth Century evolution at a local level, showcasing the creative lives so inspired and what it really meant to be ‘Modern’ back in the day.

Modern Events pt 1. “Mid Century Modern Curated” at Outre Gallery

For those of you wanting to take your love of all thing Modern outside a while there is a bouquet of MCM focused events coming up to pick from (sorry Australia, they are all in Melbourne for some reason). What better time to experience primo winter Melbourne; coffee, handsome folk in warms coats, endless music, bowls of warm pasta and this? So, get out there gang and rub shoulders with your fellow enthusiasts, who knows what you might learn or who you may meet!

First up – this Friday night our bosom buddies Outre Gallery are opening “Mid Century Modern Curated”, a multi disciplined and many faceted ensemble of Mid-Century Modern artworks and designs. Including original futuristic lithographs by designer Syd Mead, Alexander Girard wooden dolls, Mid-Cenutry Australian architectural renderings and a very special selection of original Scandinavian painting and prints from sister space – Gallery Midlandia. Get down there, enjoy the surprises and perhaps find that singular piece for your little Mod home.

 

Architectural rendering by Harry Divola (Australian) early 1960s. 

Lind House win and some losses

A quick post today to acknowledge the great win for MCM heritage in Melbourne by the adding of Anatol Kagan’s Lind House to the Victorian Heritage Register. This was due to the City of Glen Eira not taking a previous Heritage Victoria recommendation to not place it on the register lying down. No siree! The council in a simply unheard of move decide to submit their case contrary this assessment to the Heritage Council of Victoria and with the masterful work of legit Modernist Australian hero Simon Reeves (Kagan know-it-all and consultant-cum-savior of so many MCM homes gone before) won the day!
Now not to take away form this giant killing win by these civic Davids (Glen Eira Council also take a bow!) but we must stress that you, dear reader, have played a major part in this victory too. For we see every other day homes of similar value to this one turning into dust (as per below), a major difference in the Lind House situation was publicity. This house and its imminent demise were broadcast far and wide across all channels: papers, magazines, the radio, blogs and Facebook pages aplenty and without this groundswell we wonder if the council may have been on board to save this slice of MCM housing with such gusto.
Suffice to say it steels our resolve to get it out there, to share and share alike, to kick up a stink to point out that which deserves to remain standing. We think we all should learn from this and live by the quote on diligence from The Shawshank Redemption “From now on we’re gonna write two letters a week, instead of one”

Now back to reality with the other kind of acknowledgement. The sad kind. The one which boils blood and whacks us (as stick not carrot) into action. We had notification last week from reader Carl that the wondrous Star-Warzian battlement of ‘Gandolfo House’ (Architect David Godsell c.1975) which was sold last year has been razed. We have no doubt that whatever wedding cake island of vulgar mediocrity which replaces it will be a forgotten and pitiful footnote to the legend this little patch of Toorak land once held.

Adding to the tears was the demolition of another smaller Iwanoff home, we neglectfully did not post at the time. which sold for a measly 1.27 million and yet was still seemingly only good for land.

And a final heartbreak – a report from a good mate that his glorious childhood home in sunny Bracken Ridge, a house which excited a lot of fans far and wide has been virtually demolished. According to a local report the pool has been filled in (this is Brisbane we’re talking here, who the f*ck does that?) and the house all but knocked down. Some images to jog your memory. Vale.

Heroes and Villains

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.

 

Iwanoff destroyed

We cast a wide net on MA with some listings clearly on a higher plain of architectural merit and build quality than others. One such home which we prized as being on this higher side and indeed on par, we think, with the early forays of Boyd and Seidler was this classically beautiful Iwanoff we listed just one year ago.

The news is, as you may have guessed, miserable – it is gone. With bittersweet thanks to Chandra for this update and photo and in the words of the messenger, it was sold out of reach for 1.5 million dollars and subsequently wiped off the face of the earth.
Good going Perth, you just erased a standout home from one of your most celebrated architects. You pack of vacant-eyed,Trumpian philistines.

13 Minora Rd, Dalkeith today

Big Night Out – Let’s Talk MCM Heritage Panel with MA!

Image: Buchanan House, by Wolfgang Sievers, Pictures Collection State Library of Victoria.

 

The Australian Heritage Festival, brought about by the National Trust in conjunction with interested organisations from across the entire continent is on the horizon. With the theme of My Culture, My Story as the focus you are able to take part as a presenter or participant of over 1000 events; from Botany Beyond Banks in Bentley(WA), Heroes and Villains in the Hunter (NSW) or  Deadly Didge ‘n’ Dance on Palm Island (QLD) as mere examples –  there’s too much to take in. That said, dear readers, we know why you’re here so please indulge our own trumpet serenade with a very special Melbourne Modernist event happening on Thursday May 17th in the MCM bosom of The Beaumaris Bowls Club:  Let’s Talk MCM Heritage – An Expert Panel Discussion.’
Proudly presented by Beaumaris Modern and featuring the astute executive director of Open House Melbourne Emma Talford as moderator, we shall navigate the questions, conflicts and opinion with a panel of some serious heavy hitting locals including master architect and educator Peter McIntyre, renowned academic and author Philip Goad, accomplished architect and presenter of Grand Designs Australia Peter Maddison and…….us. The Legend, the Professor, the TV star and MA – it’s all very Gilligan’s Island and with drinks at bowls club prices and red-hot passion for Mid-Century Architecture on the table who knows where we’ll end up!

Tickets go on pre-sale, then regular sale, next week (top tip- if you join Beaumaris Modern you can get the pre-sale tickets and cheaper!). So keep your diaries marked and the babysitter locked in for a chance to say hello to us and a host of like minded others on one very special night in a May – see you there!

 

 

Design week @ The ICI Building

Weee! Melbourne Design Week is almost here and with it comes a brain singeing list of events, tours and talks – all ready to provoke and please the soul. We could spend hours combing over the joy catalogued in the daily calendar, from chats about begining an architecture practice, to word nerds and Marimekko in Bendigo (now there is two words you never thought you’d see together) but getting back to our Mid-Century Modernist form we’d like to advise there is but one show left of a sell out series of Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst’s comedy and architectural fanboy shenanigans Man About The House, and this time it’s in the illustrious ICI Building, indeed a venerable place of worship in the Australian Modernist sphere. With reportedly a bunch of extra extras including installations of film and furniture, this particular round of Rosso is a dead-set love-in of the MCM kind, to enjoy with like minded peeps.

Under the Tree

As the retail panic sets in, a few delicious tidbits for loved ones or maybe yourself (you’ve been very good this year right?) have fallen into our line of sight, well assured to delight the MCM nerd of any household. Take a look.

First up, a brand new book which gets to the heart of why Mid-Century Modern architecture remains so close to ours. “An Unfinished Experiment in Living: Australian Houses 1950-65″ by London, Goad & Hamann investigates the deliberate move to building for living in a contemporary community with the re-evaluating and upturning of concepts around construction traditions, family, nature and our unique climate zones. Using some of the best domestic buildings of the era to support their conversation, these three heavy hitters of the Australian architectural intelligentsia revisit these homes (which span the entire country) which continue to promote progressive, innovative and downright exhilarating concepts to their core, and prompting the ultimate, underpinning question: what happened to such a bright new world of thought and design?

“It puts forward new research founded on the premise that the most significant houses of the 1950s and 60s represent an unfinished and undervalued experiment in modern living. Issues such as the open plan, the changing nature of the family, the embrace of advances in technology, the use of the courtyard, and the orientation of the house to capture sun and privacy, were valuable and critical lessons. This book is a compelling reminder of their continuing relevance.”

Indeed and amen.

 

Now for those with a more stocking filler budget, especially those of the Sydneyside and/or visitors to the uncrowned capital the Footpath Guide crew have also recently released a new series focusing on thereabouts. Three new titles are there for you to take and use as a delightful walking companion, educating yourself on your own built heritage. They cover: “Sydney The Rocks 1815 – 1950”, “Sydney Inter-War 1915 – 1940” and of course our fav “Sydney Modern 1950 – 1990”. Get yours while there is still time and hit the streets this summer!