A significant mid-century home in Tannock Street North Balwyn, Melbourne, by pre-eminent Australian architect, Robin Boyd, is for currently for sale and at risk of demolition. The agent's listing does not include images or plans of this significant home, and instead has marketed the property as a development and subdivision opportunity:
It is a tragedy that this important example of post-war Australian modernism looks likely to succumb to the same fate as many other significant homes in Boroondara. Architecturally significant homes from this era are being raized in Eastern suburbs like Balwyn at an alarming rate, only to be replaced with mass-produced and over-scaled mock-heritage mansions with no architectural or contextual value. These new developments come at the expense of our architectural heritage, the character of our streetscapes and the biodiversity of Melbourne's leafy suburbs. As an architecture-academic and practitioner with much admiration for the work of Robin Boyd, I feel compelled to advocate on behalf of this significant architect and public intellectual, who dedicated his career to improving the lives of people through good domestic design, and making architectural ideas accessible to the broader community. The community now needs to get behind this campaign to ensure his architectural legacy is preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Please help me by signing the petition to Boroondara Council to show your support in favour of heritage protection and help save this home from demolition. Please also share this petition in the hope of attracting a buyer for this home who sees its value and will enjoy living here.
You can view images of the Tannock Street house in this earlier real-estate listing: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-house-vic-balwyn+north-128228670
According to the Balwyn conservation study of 2015: "the house is architecturally significant as an early and notably intact example of the work of the eminent designer and writer Robin Boyd. Documented in late 1948, the house was one of the first projects undertaken by Boyd when he left the partnership of Kevin Pethebridge and Frank Bell to open his own sole practice. Today, it remains as one of relatively few surviving examples from this seminal phase of Boyd's career, prior to his celebrated partnership with Roy Grounds and Frederick Romberg. Along with the Gillison House in Kireep Road, Balwyn (1951) and the Dunstan House in Yandilla Road (1950), it is one of three outstanding early and substantially intact houses by Robin Boyd in the study area, which, considered collectively, provide rare and valuable evidence of the innovation, boldness and fresh design approaches of a young architect on the cusp of an illustrious career. Architecturally, the house is also significant as an a notable achievement in modern homebuilding at a time when materials and labour were still due to wartime restrictions. The house encapsulated many ideas, such as open-planning, split-levels and window walls (in this case, an improbably large plate glass window), that were extremely innovative at the time. Later adopted by others, they would also recur notably throughout Boyd's own subsequent career. In contrast to the contemporaneous Dunstan House in Yandilla Road, conceived as a three-stage project (gradually realised in 1949-50, 1951 and 1962), the Wood House was a stand alone dwelling subsequently enlarged in two stages, both to Boyd's design, in 1959 and 1971. These provide evidence of Boyd's high level of sensitivity in making additions to his own work, simultaneously demonstrating a continuity of form, finishes and details while still being readily identifiable as later accretions."