Note that the relevant HERCON criteria and themes from the Stonnington Thematic Environmental History (TEH) are shown in brackets.
What is Significant? The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak is a double-storey English Domestic Revival style building designed by noted interwar architect Robert Bell Hamilton. It was built c1932 following the demolition and subdivision of the nineteenth century mansion Montalto.
Elements that contribute to the significance of the place include (but are not limited to):
-The original external form, materials and detailing of the building.
-The generally high level of external intactness.
-The unpainted state of the face brick and terracotta elements.
-The domestic garden setting (but not the fabric of the garden itself).
The garages and modern fabric, including the front verandah infill and front fence, are not significant.
How is it significant? The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak is of local architectural significance to the City of Stonnington.
Why is it significant? The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road are architecturally significant as a fine and largely intact example of residential building in the English Domestic Revival style designed by important interwar architect Robert Bell Hamilton (Criterion D). It has an imposing streetscape presence, and provides a good illustration of the propensity for maisonettes and flats in fashionable suburbs to be designed to emulate the appearance of a large single dwelling (Criterion E, TEH 8.6.3 - Architect Designed apartments,).
The building at 687 Orrong Road is a double-storey English Domestic revival style pair of maisonettes with clinker brick walls and a terracotta tiled roof. It has a symmetrically composed facade with twin projecting gabled bays flanking a central verandah (since enclosed). The gable ends are clad in stained vertical boarding and have narrow slit vents The main roof is a steeply pitched transerve gable with an 'eye lid' vent at the centre and tall chimneys at either end. The main roof also has stained vertical boarding to the gable ends to match the front gables. Windows are typically double hung sash frames with diamond pattern leadlight glazing characteristic of the English Domestic Revival mode.
The building appears to be substantially intact in terms of its presentation to Orrong Road. The canted bay window on the gable bay to no.687 is not shown on the original MMBW property service plan. It may not be original but is nonetheless sympathetic in form and detailing. The glazing in of the first floor verandah has also been carried out in a relatively unobtrusive manner.
The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak illustrates the following themes, as identified in the Stonnington Thematic Environmental History (Context Pty Ltd, 2006):
8.1.3 - The end of an era - mansion estate subdivisions in the twentieth century
8.4.1 - Houses as a symbol of wealth, status and fashion
8.6.3 - Architect designed apartments
The building is also of some historical interest as evidence of a major phase of development that took place in the 1920s and 1930s when subdivisions of Toorak's grand mansion estates were developed as prestigious residential enclaves (, TEH 8.1.3 The end of an era - mansion estate subdivisions in the twentieth century).
Additionally, the building illustrates the role of English Domestic revival style residences as symbols of wealth, status and taste for Melbourne's middle and upper classes of the interwar period (TEH 8.4.1 - Houses as a symbol of wealth, status and fashion).