The Elliston Estate is representative of the prevailing town planning and the architectural ideals of the late 1960s which aimed to integrate the private or personal living environment into a broader community context. This has been effectively achieved at Elliston where the estate layout, creekside public open space, Australian native landscape and the reticulation of services have been combined to create a visually harmonious communal environment.
The principal design philosophy for the estate was the integration of the building and architectural professions to provide an integrated residential environment. Limited heterogeneity was stressed with personal home owner identity being expressed by house plan and finish selection, within a given framework. Housing estates in Columbia, Valencia and Reston in the United States and New Ash Green in England were cited as international precedents.
Ellis Stones stated the landscape philosophy ... 'Existing trees in the estate will be left wherever possible ... and any new trees planted will be native Australian trees. It will be a very informal design with no formal flower beds. The landscape must be strong and simple with one continuous flowing feeling.'[i]
The City of Heidelberg, as the electricity supply authority, assisted the landscape concept by providing underground power reticulation and selected street lighting for an estimated extra cost of $600 per block. The former club house, situated between Pickworth Court and Von Nida Crescent was demolished and house construction commenced early in 1969. A display area between Cremin and Bachli Courts and a site office at the corner of Finlayson Street and Bachli Court were completed by November when The Age provided a special supplement on the estate entitled 'Unorthodox Elliston'.
The concept embodied by Ellis Stones and the consulting architects was also not dissimilar to Walter Burley Griffin and Frank Lloyd Wright's planning philosophies, emphasising integration of built form and landscape. Full height glazing and courtyards were intended to integrate interior and exterior. The desire to eliminate footpaths by extending the united front garden to the kerb, relates to residential planning designs by Burley Griffin who conceived that front gardens should be communal parks to soften the impact of the built form as viewed from the road.
The cul-de-sac street form, limited materials and design choice, integrated with architect consultation and a limited range of materials were also concepts embodied in the Jennings' Beaumont Estate of 30 years before.
Natural stained finishes, clinker bricks and heavy beams continued the Wright influence at Elliston, which had been popularised in Victoria by Charles Duncan. The vogue for private courtyards, either fully or semi enclosed, was another repeating theme. Additional features embodied into the design of dwellings include wide overhanging eaves, pergolas or slatted sunshades, and full height windows facing north.
[i] Butler. op. cit. p.167. Original source unknown.