Review of B Graded Buildings in Kew, Camberwell & Hawthorn
Statement of Significance
28 Holroyd Street, Kew is of local historical and architectural significance as a representative and externally intact example of the brick parapetted and conspicuously Moderne houses appearing in Boroondara after c. 1937. The house is distinguished by a handsome facade which incorporates richly detailed brickwork and is characterised by a strong horizontality, and which is of interest incontrasting modern steel-framed windows with more traditionalising elements such as the Ionic columns. The house is complimented by a matching original low brick fence along both frontages which retains wrought iron pedestrian gates.
Yarra Boulevard Precinct (HO530)What is significant?The Yarra Boulevard precinct in the north-west of Kew was subdivided in phases between the 1880s and the mid-twentieth century. The earlier subdivisions generally failed due to the remoteness of the area and the lack of transportation links, but later subdivisions were more successful following the construction of the Yarra Boulevard in the 1930s. However, during World War II the prohibition on civilian building generally halted construction within the new subdivisions, and as a result it was not until the postwar period that the precinct area was more fully developed. This has resulted in the precinct having an unusually high concentration of postwar Modernist dwellings, many of them architect-designed. This valued Modernist residential development distinguishes the area today, including within metropolitan Melbourne. The hilly topography, combined with subdivision in stages, also produced a more curvilinear and cul-de-sac streetscape pattern, with often irregular building allotments, in contrast to the grid-based or rectilinear subdivision patterns and more conventionally shaped allotments of other areas of Kew.The precinct contains numerous individually significant and contributory buildings of the postwar period, as well as a number from the interwar period and late 1960s-1970s. Specific buildings of individual and contributory significance which are important to the precinct are identified in the attached schedule.How is it significant?The Yarra Boulevard precinct is historically and architecturally significant to the City of Boroondara, and the wider metropolitan region.Why is it significant?Historically, the precinct is significant for its association with a phase of Modernist and architect designed residential development, which occurred largely between the 1940s and 1960s, complemented by some residential development dating from the earlier interwar period and the late 1960s-1970s. During these years, the precinct was closely developed with houses that adapted to the natural setting and hilly topography. The move towards the simplified Modernist mode of dwelling, and in some cases experimental approach, also represented a move away from the more conservative house designs found elsewhere in the municipality. This aspect of the precinct's history reflected both the period of development, and also the willingness of property owners to embrace new and innovative residential design, a trend which has continued into more recent times. The precinct is accordingly also important for its association with many prominent architects and architectural practices of the postwar era; these include, but are not limited to, Theodore Berman, Chancellor and Patrick, Ernest Fooks, Anatol Kagan, McGlashan and Everist, Romberg and Boyd, and Bernard Slawik.A number of houses on the outer edges of the precinct which date from the interwar period, and precede the predominant postwar development are also significant in that they help demonstrate the gradual subdivision of the area. In addition, the precinct has historical significance for its association with the sustenance employment schemes of the Great Depression, which resulted in the construction of the Yarra Boulevard.Architecturally, the Yarra Boulevard precinct is significant for its high concentration, richness and diversity of Modernist residential dwellings, complemented by examples of interwar and late 1960s-1970s residential development, set within an irregular, median-strip divided curvilinear street layout.The overall intactness of the more visible components of the dwellings is comparatively high, and alterations generally adopt a sympathetic approach. Many of the residences also display a high degree of sensitivity to site and topography, and ingenuity in their architectural approach, including to the design and orientation of buildings. This has created a distinctive aesthetic character for residential development within this area of the municipality. The concentration of well-preserved postwar Modernist houses is also arguably distinctive in the wider metropolitan context.The landscaped character of the precinct is significant. This is demonstrated in the garden settings to many of the houses which were often sympathetic to the Modernist architecture and reflected a contemporary response to the area's topography and natural setting, as well as site-sensitive planting schemes and approach. Noted landscape designers, such as Ellis Stones, are also believed to have been involved in some of the residential developments. The adaptation of street layout and house siting to the unusually hilly Melbourne terrain is additionally significant, including the irregular, median-strip divided curvilinear street layout.