‘Torrens Townhouses’ 2C / 3 Davies Place, Torrens ACT

You’d be hard-pressed to find a one-bedroom apartment these days with the spatial generosity and solidity of build, let alone the supremely well-considered approach to design as this one, but then again we don’t have our high and medium density housing supply in the capable hands of Mid-Century architects par excellence such as Dutch-born Dirk Bolt, nor combined in a holistic solution-based, government-involved project as The Torrens Townhouses (c.1967). And quite frankly, we are all the poorer for it architecturally, environmentally, spiritually and lifestyle-wise. Make the best of the rare and beautiful ones we do have gang, this is the dream of what our city living could and should be, as created over 50 years ago. 

2 Gray Place, Weston ACT

A welcome return today to super minimal, clean Modernist spaces courtesy of Pettit and Sevitt and the ACT rental market. Yes! The architectural project home dream can be yours to lease and make your own, soaking up that cork, slate and timber (whilst ignoring that ew granite kitchen/bathroom re-do)  and taking in the winter sun all the while. It shall do nicely. 

20 Brookman St, Torrens ACT

Under offer – sorry guys – most likely snapped up in the whirl of Canberra Modern festival, but we felt compelled to post one from our nation’s democratic capital today. And whilst you peruse the beauty of sustainable, timeless design, the integrity of natural materials and solid craftsmanship we’d encourage you all to apply these values to the candidates today and vote accordingly and below the line*. Design, like everything else, is political. 

 

*in other words – DO NOT VOTE FOR THE LNP./PUP/NAZI ANNING/OR THE BLOODNUT
(partisan? You bet we are.)

 

 

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.

64 Gellibrand St, Campbell ACT

Perhaps this week more than most it has been selected, put into bold and then16pt sizing – the eternal and devilish duality of Canberra hosting the pinnacle of ugliness (on Capital Hill) and beauty (like right here) at the same time. Let’s enjoy more of the latter. 

4 Torres St, Red Hill ACT

Hey capital cats; what’s the go here? We are smitten by this imposing residence of Hollywood-esq Hills drama including a bold butterfly roofline, double story stone feature wall, classic timber and glazing and a curious addition out back- a Modern Canberra c.70s self-contained unit. But the question stands; what’s the inside story? With no floorplan, no architectural history, no internal images of the principal (earlier) residence and no inspections allowed (!), bold is the soul to shells out for a hilltop acre and home, as beautiful as even this one might be, with out stepping foot within. Thrillseekers and those with fertile, excitable imaginations we leave this one up to you!

59 Arabana St, Aranda ACT

Back to palate-cleansing purity with this gorgeous, c.1968 Canberra home by hall-of-famer Daryl Jackson. Like the timelessness of its beautiful bushland environs, this home has barely changed in 50 years but for a small (and overall sympathetic) kitchen update. And really, why would it need to? This offering of all-Australian Modernism with elemental harmony at its core is as practical to the needs of contemporary living as it is beautiful behold in the contemporary eye. Wholly divine in low-key warmth and simplicity.

‘Torrens Courtyard Housing’ 100 &102 Batchelor St, Torrens ACT

Something a little more unusual today, well rather, two things. This double offer of adjoining 3 bedroom ‘dupli’ AKA ‘Torrens Courtyard Housing’ (c.1966) with the disappointing banality of ‘development’ rah-rah handing over their heads. We think these homes, the work of Netherlands-born Australian Modernist architect Dirk Bolt are really something special, with those beautiful walled courtyards and patios, striking street frontage and banks of entire and half wall windows, and which posses huge scope to utilise such gorgeous elements and renew their architectural beauty with a little interior help. A mindful and skilled practitioner could transform these tired buildings into one home or preferably a shared generational living set-up and/or any manner of collective housing arrangements, as per the philosophy of their architect as Canberra Modern explains:
“In designing group housing schemes, some in association with group centres, Bolt explored an interest in the urban as well as the built form. Bolt’s central planning themes in group housing were to provide a range of housing types and access to outdoor private space. His rationale was that in each development, providing a mix in the numbers of bedrooms, and hence of family structures and lifestyles, would help promote interaction between people of different ages and social groups. The other key principle was that each dwelling should offer the opportunity to move easily from living areas into private open space. So where gardens were not possible people had access to courtyards or broad terraces.”

This housing is a prime example of the progressive experiment that was Canberra Modernism. They not only deserve to stay standing but are absolutely entitled to local protection and recognition, as their true inspirational plight and (we think) success in finding new ways of dwelling and community planning (which has been criminally ignored for the last 30 years) returns again with vengeance as the topic de jour across the entire design and political spectrum.

58 Rosenthal St, Campbell ACT

A commanding residence in Canberra** with all the promise of a blockbuster though which, to our mind, is missing a little something. Sensational bones (that carport & courtyard walls – woah), build and grounds notwithstanding the interiors are kinda ho-hum with that 90s kitchen, blandish white living areas and bereft garden needing a lift and personality injection. The upside being that due to its magnificent condition that’s all it calls for – the creative eye, furniture collection and landscaping skills of just one inspired person and a couple of months to transform it from sleeper to ultimate party pad. Who wants to reap that reward?

**Architect: the notable Roger Pegrum. Built c.1962