Great architectural gems are not restricted by time. Whether a house was built in the 1950s or more recently completed, the strong lines and bespoke spaces appeal to audiences who appreciate great design irrespective of when it was built. Well before the threshold is crossed, there’s a level of expectation of entering a home that’s totally unique.

1. The Brett House by Robin Boyd

Location: 3 Buddle Drive, Toorak

Located in a cu-de-sac off Grange Road, glimpses of this home can be seen as one drives along Alexandra Avenue. Designed by architect Robin Boyd in 1955, when he was still in practice with Roy Grounds and Frederick Romberg, this house has a distinctly Georgian aesthetic. Responding to many of the Georgian-style houses in this neighbourhood, there’s a ‘rhythm’ in the placement of the fine steel pillars and symmetry of the floor-to-ceiling windows/doors to the terraces on both levels. However, unlike the more traditional Georgian-revival home of the 1930s and ‘40s, this house features a flat roof.

2. Grant Street House by Guildford Bell

Location: Toorak

Designed by architect Guilford Bell in 1983, towards the end of the his career, this lavish home features a pool and suspended bridge in the front garden that leads to the front door. It follows a symmetrical floor plan, as with many of Bell’s designs, along with sumptuous finishes. A sweeping staircase, complete with a curvaceous brass handrail, is as delightful to touch as the timber and marble detailing. Concealed behind a high front fence, the garden acts as an oasis and creates a verdant outlook from within.

3. G.E. Hubay

Location: 16 Stonnington Place, Toorak

A central tropical-style courtyard garden is pivotal to this beautifully designed house by G.E. Hubay. Designed in the mid-1970s and reworked by interior designers Suzie Stanford and Paul Hecker, this single-storey house features generous picture windows in both the living areas and bedrooms, the latter complete with ensuites. This clever plan allows one to see the front door from the kitchen, as well as into other areas within the home, without having to open doors.

4. Nicholas Bochsler

Location: 59 Grange Road, Toorak

Set on 2,000 square metres, complete with a tennis court, is one of Nic Bochsler’s finest homes. Clad entirely in black, either in tiles, render or steel, this lavish home blurs the division between inside and out with its many water features. The four-bedroom, four bathroom home built in the 1980s is not surprisingly, a landmark in Toorak (even though partially concealed behind a high brick fence). And is typical in many of Bochsler’s designs, there are double-height spaces in living areas, glass brick walls and in some rooms, black granite floors.

5. In-situ House by Rob Kennon Architects

Location: Toorak

Anchored to a steep site near the Yarra River, In-situ House challenges the typical family home. Constructed in in-situ concrete, including the exterior and interior ceilings, floors and walls, this house has a sense of monumentality, creating a strong visual cohesiveness in the process. The main house takes the form of a three-storey cube, with the top level set back. The volume of the central living space ‘pierces’ the cube with oversized openings that lead to multiple decks. At the rear of the site is a guest pavilion that is expressed in the same materials as the main house.

Text by Stephen Crafti
Images of In-situ House by Rob Kennon Architects courtesy of Derek Swalwell (photographer)

Images of In-situ House by Rob Kennon Architects courtesy of Derek Swalwell (photographer)

Images of In-situ House by Rob Kennon Architects courtesy of Derek Swalwell (photographer)


Images of In-situ House by Rob Kennon Architects courtesy of Derek Swalwell (photographer)

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