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.

‘Chancellor House II’ 31 Fowler St, Box Hill South VIC

The second in our ‘name architect’ listings, make no mistake, is sitting on the precipice. Unlike the Russell Jack residence this morning which has been lovingly updated and sold promoting its obvious and winning architectural credentials this case (like so many others we’ve seen over the years) has interested parties choosing only to pander only to filthy development dollars and hence is down-playing, nay, concealing it’s architectural significance hoping that no one will notice. Well, newsflash, we notice*. MCM architecture throughout this land now has eyes on every corner and voices in every suburb and we refuse to let a significant CHANCELLOR AND PATRICK residence indeed the ARCHITECT’S OWN, go unnoticed. So here it is. Chancellor House II, designed by David Chancellor of Chancellor & Patrick Architects for himself and wife Phyllis Chancellor (c.1957). Burned to the ground in 1970 and rebuilt (the post floor plan images are of the original). A picturesque example from a firm which regularly reminds us of its brilliance up and down the Mornington Peninsula such as here and across Melbourne seen here and here. We have no need to go into the stunning aspects, materials, design and feel of this majestic residence nor why it manifests so much more inherent value than a white line and 1/2 an acre in the seventh ring of development hell. We could reel off historical tidbits such as this house was chosen as one of the ten most significant Australian houses and a finalist in the Architecture and Arts Awards 1958–1959. But what we really want to drive home to all those dullards who believe that janky townhouse speculators deserve first dibs on such precious Melbourne jewels, is that there are those who would pay to live and love it here – yes the millions – we have proven this in the recent Lind house fight. Protection, restoration and celebration are not the financial blow they are made out to be. In fact they make a suburb valuable and highly prized long after the polystyrene has rotten and non-code panels have caught fire on those dismal, quick-buck-non-designed townhouses. These homes are the sophistication and the chic that no glossy website will ever match. These recognised architectural pinnacles enhance life and meaning to those who live inside and around them. They teach us what can be achieved and how to go about it. And it is high time everyone learned that.

*Actually, it was Steven Coverdale, bless him, who found this one.

43 Haig St, Box Hill South VIC

Sometimes we struggle to find a fitting MCM home for sale to post to you, however this spring someone might as well have run down the isle of Crufts, sending cage doors flying, such is the stampede of pedigrees about to run us down and lick our faces and we are certainly again struggling now – to keep up! Take this stunner for instance (c. 1962); immaculately and sympathetically preened, it stands in virtually original form as the family home for, and designed by, notable Geelong/Melbourne architect Murray Wilson* who spent his career, starting in 1957,  at the local archi incubator; Buchan, Laird & Buchan (since morphed into global superfirm – The Buchan Group).  Once again we are presented with such elegant spaces, beamed construction and large scale glazing as to give us beauty fatigue. While we recover, take a look at the comments the present owner has kindly sent us about living within such clarity of design…..

“Living in this house has been a wonderful experience. The orientation; the light; the ability to open it up to let the breeze flow right through; the indoor – outdoor feel; and the clever zoning of living and sleeping spaces make for easy living that adapts to each season………From the street it faces west and appears understated and private. Once inside, it opens generously to the north and the east through the floor to ceiling 3.7m glass panels, each with a 1200mm sliding door. These glass walls run the length of the living room, kitchen and study and provide an uninterrupted view of the lush garden. Extended eaves provide excellent solar passive design and cooling air flow is achieved by opening up the many doors…….It is such an easy house to live in. Simplicity and style are its hallmarks.”

*Thanks once again to Simon Reeves for this revelation, stemming from his own professional research of this property.