In the post-war period (1945), architects were keen to create something new and heroic. Architect Harry Seidler’s Rose Seidler house (circa 1948) in Wahroonga, Sydney, showed the way of the future. Although people reflect on this period of architecture as the ‘golden age’, one can find equally heroic examples of contemporary architecture today, with suburbs such as Toorak, providing a number of impressive examples.

1. Architect Nic Bochsler

Location: 8 Denham Place, Toorak

This majestic house, designed by esteemed architect Nic Bochsler, is a composition of glass, concrete and water, the latter found in a moat in the home’s lobby. Appearing to aim for the sky, expansive glass windows are beautifully framed by an established and manicured garden, with a lap pool cleverly integrated along one side. The home’s crisp modernist lines and voids create a sanctuary behind the high fence that borders this home on the corner of Denham and Stonnington Places. Subtle changes in floor level allow for fluid and light-filled spaces.

2. Jeff Provan –Neometro

Location: 19 Canterbury Road, Toorak (accompanying images)

Designed by Jeff Provan, founder and director of Neometro, this three-level concrete house stands apart from the neo-classical townhouses in this street, nestled behind Toorak Village. The three-level concrete home features a zinc clad mansard-style roof. Those who have visited Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Poissy, on the outskirts of Paris, will recognise the similarities, particularly in form. The two homes are decades apart with Villa Savoye completed in the early 1930s and Provan’s home in the 1990s, showing that modernism has longevity well beyond the fashions of the moment. The Japanese-style garden surrounding the Canterbury Road house creates a Zen-like experience upon arrival.

3. McBride Charles Ryan (MCR)

Kent Court-Toorak

Some of Toorak’s most adventurous architecture is concealed in courts. At the end of Kent Court, situated off Irving Road, is a wildly adventurous home by leading Melbourne practice McBride Charles Ryan (MCR). Recipient of an architecture award in 2006 from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter), this black monolithic form is referred to as the ‘Cave House’. While the exterior is slightly foreboding, the pristine white interior, with an extraordinary faceted ceiling, brings a different dimension to this remarkable home. The homes angular glazed walls bring in the garden views, as well as the northern and afternoon light.

4. Wood Marsh

Location: 9 Towers Road, Toorak

This award winning home, designed by Wood Marsh, received an architecture award in 2018 from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter). This monumental concrete home, with a curvaceous black clad zinc dish as a focal point, slows traffic along this premier Toorak enclave. The scalloped concrete walls act as a counterpoint to the home’s rear elevation that is fully glazed to embrace the rolling landscape. Those fortunate to be invited inside will appreciate the entry sequence, with a double-height void immediately past the threshold.

Also designed by award-winning architects Wood Marsh, apartments at 26&28 Esplanade are currently on the market for sale. 

Alternatively, we have a Wood Marsh-designed townhouse available for lease at 25/30 Esplanade.

5. Stephen Jolson Architects

Location: 20 Linlithgow Road, Toorak

Architect Stephen Jolson is well known for his fine contemporary homes and apartments, many of which are located in Toorak. One of Jolson’s more adventurous designs can be seen at 20 Linlithgow Road. Spread over three levels with a dramatic void at the entrance that connects to the 20 metre-long basement swimming pool, the home is a ‘tour-de-force’. The monumental concrete fins expressed on the home’s façade diffuse the afternoon western light as well as offering privacy.

Text by Stephen Crafti

Neometro-designed home at 19 Canterbury Road, Toorak


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