Mid-century modern. A phrase bandied about in the global architecture sphere, this so-called ‘trend’ remains as current as it was almost 10 decades since the first wave of modernist architectural design hit American shores.
Across the Atlantic, in the small yet bustling city of Melbourne, a new wave of modernist design was sweeping the city’s fringes. The middle decades of the 20th century saw rapid suburban growth around Melbourne led in part by an increased demand for motor vehicles as a key mode of transportation, growing prosperity and business development post war, and most markedly a desire for the true suburban lifestyle.
The result? A rapid push for new housing and services in the suburbs of Melbourne.
Enter modernism. Characterised as a more socially informed way of building spaces for living according to need and function, this lasting design form is said to have stemmed in the 20th century from an aversion to the ornate excesses of the recent Victorian style, and a reaction to industrialisation. In Doncaster and Templestowe, and other parts of the municipality, a number of key architects and builders were developing innovative housing solutions to address the needs and aspirations of the period.
Manningham Modern: A self-guided tour of the modern homes of Manningham highlights some of the best examples of mid-century modern architecture in Manningham.
The publication (which you can download here) was created in partnership with the National Trust and is one of many historical initiatives of Manningham Council and its commitment to share heritage information with the broader community. The self-guided tour, is also part of a series of walking trails with guides made available by Council to inspire residents and visitors to explore and experience the municipality’s rich history and environment.
Manningham Modern is designed to allow its participants to embark on a self-guided tour of some of the best examples of mid-century modern architecture in the region using an interactive online map. The houses included in the tour have been selected from a long list of examples within the municipality.
“As you visit the places on the tour, keep an eye out for other examples of housing from the era. You will appreciate the original work of the architects, builders and developers who were working in the area, as well as the aspirations of the residents who commissioned the work and chose to live in these homes.” (source: Manningham Modern: A self-guided tour of the modern homes of Manningham).
Manningham suggests that when partaking in the tour, houses should be viewed from the public domain (street) only and participants should refrain from encroaching on private property and respect residents’ privacy and amenity.
Main image: House in Foote Street, Templestowe, designed by Robin Boyd (1952). Photographer: Peter Willie (C.1950-71)
Source: State Library of Victoria Picture Collection.
All images displayed in this article have been sourced from the original “Manningham Modern: A self-guided tour of the modern homes of Manningham” publication.