There are numerous examples of 1930s homes in Brighton, including Georgian Revival, Spanish Mission and Streamlined on Functionalist Modernism. Although the many disparate styles appear to have been built in different eras, they were often built in the same decade, either in the 1920s or ‘30s. Some of these homes have unfortunately been demolished, while others remain virtually intact, allowing future generations to reflect on domestic architecture that’s unlikely to be repeated.

1. 1930s Moderne

Location: East Brighton

This hipped roof 1930s house, with its curved parapet and front porch, appears relatively untouched from the street. However, what was once a single-storey home has been transformed into a family abode by FMD Architects. To the rear is a contemporary two-storey wing with distinctive timber-battened walls. “I wanted to strongly delineate between the past and present,” says architect Fiona Dunin, director of the practice. “In the 1930s, there was a shift towards more open plan spaces and clean lines, with greater consideration to natural light,” she adds.

2. Architect Esmond Dorney’s Maisonettes

Location: 33-39 Campbell Street, Brighton

It’s not surprising that these maisonettes have a distinctive feel of the work of Walter and Marion Burley Griffin (the architects responsible for Canberra’s master plan), given Esmond Dorney worked for the Griffin’s in their Melbourne office for three years in the late 1920s. These two-storey homes, built in 1937, also evoke the Prairie Style of architecture made popular by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 20th century. Fine geometric detailing can be seen here, framing windows and entrances.

3. Architect Leighton Irwin

Location: 32 Bay Street, Brighton

Designed in 1936 for a doctor, this Georgian Revival home features the typical hallmarks of this style: a hip roof, shuttered-framed windows and symmetrical detailing. With many medical practitioners leaving Europe in the 1930s, before the outbreak of war, a number of these bespoke homes included a professional suite for a doctors, who could be at work within moments. Having a separate entrance to the practice also meant that patients and one’s family could enjoy a degree of privacy.

4. Yunken Freeman Brothers Griffiths and Simpson

Location: 9 Boxshall Street, Brighton

Designed in the Georgian Revival Style by Yuncken Freeman Brothers Griffiths and Simpson in 1942 (the practice was also responsible for the South Yarra Library years later), this classically-inspired home features a strong dose of symmetry with repetitive bays of multi-paned windows. This style became extremely popular in the 1930s and into the ‘40s, particularly in the more affluent eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The almost stark façade has a modernist appeal, attracting a new audience of architectural buffs decades later.

5. Architect I G Anderson

Location: 3 Elwood Street, Brighton

This 1930s modernist home was designed by lesser known architect Illiffe Gordon Anderson. The home’s curved staircase tower creates a sculptural form set against its strong rectilinear lines. The house is generously endowed with steel-framed windows and doors, together with an enviable first-floor terrace, making the indoors and out appear seamless. I G Anderson was a champion of the Moderne or Functionalist style, producing a number of apartments in the same style in Melbourne from the mid-to-late 1930s.

Text by Stephen Crafti
Image by Peter Bennetts


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