What is significant?
The Clemson house was designed by architect Robin Boyd for the Clemson family and built in 1959-60.
The block slopes steeply to the west from the driveway off Milfay Avenue, with a minor creek flowing down the southern boundary. The landscape includes a large mature eucalypt dating from well before the house, and informal planting and landscaping which give a bush block feel to the place. Ellis Stones built benching of large stones to stabilise the cutting to the north of the house, and flagstone steps and paving leading to the front entrance.
The main design feature of the house is the single sweep of steeply sloping metal deck roof in a shallow inward sloping V which floats above and shelters the simple cabin shaped dwelling enclosures below. The roof is supported on a series of eleven white 'scissor' frames of light section timber with square timber columns forming an open colonnade along the outside of the building. The top two bays off the driveway form a carport. Two cabin like living areas with dark painted vertical boarded walls and sloping fibro roofs step down the hill, one for bedrooms and bathroom and the other the kitchen and living area. They are separated by a breezeway with a translucent roof containing the entrance and laundry. Square timber framed windows are fitted to a uniform module of half a structural bay. The final bay under the roof is a deck which stands well above ground level and is surrounded by trees and is backed by the fully glazed wall of the living area.
The interior of the house is lined in natural finish hardwood boards with painted fibre-board ceilings. All rooms are comprehensively fitted with cleverly resolved built-in furniture, lighting and labour-saving appliances tailored to the Clemson's particular needs and adding to the liveability of what is actually a very small and economical dwelling. Detailing generally is simple but sophisticated.
How is it significant?
The Clemson House is of architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Clemson House is of architectural significance as a house design by Robin Boyd, a prominent Melbourne architect, critic and writer. The house clearly reflects some of the major design themes in his work, including the strong controlling idea of the dwelling stepped down under a single sloping V roof, the clear expression of structure in the cissor' frames, and the specificity of the solution to the steep bush block and the clients' living requirements.