Sydney had been holding out on us of late but but no longer – take this in; a sublime indoor/outdoor floor plan, tranquil and unstuffy. With a reverence and respect for the natural environment, as only a pioneer architect and founding member of The Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture could achieve. Heeding cues of the Australian lifestyle and climate to a point of architectural perfection, Bruce Rickard’s creation for the family Resanceff,  built in 1965/66 (and more recently the home of the son of Russell Jack) stands as an Australian Modernist sentinel; immune to the ravages of time, fashion, lesser building materials/practice, poor design or ignorant stewardship. An epic and most worthy landmark.

This evening we have been blessed by the contact of Peter Resanceff, from whom this is the childhood home. He has been so exceptional as to speak to his parents today and has reported back to us this account, not just a story of a house, but a magical glimpse into the lives of progressive Sydney in the 50s and 60s. Thank you Peter. Read on dear friends……

Wally Resanceff & Tiiu Loo met at National Art School (then, East Sydney Tech) in Darlinghurst in the late 1950s, being taught by and studying alongside a creatively progressive crowd including Brett Whiteley, Godfrey Miller, Herbert Badham & Keith Looby.

They graduated in 1962, married the next year, and embarked on successful careers as Commercial Artists in Sydney’s advertising agency scene, and with one child on the way, Wally had a desire to build a family home that was in touch with the latest, most modern architectural trends at the time.

They had discovered a block of land in Castle Cove that real estate agents of the time passed off as ‘unbuildable’ – incredibly steep with large natural sandstone boulders and outcrops that many architects and builders of the day would have regarded as obstructions, but Wally knew that the new school of Sydney architects would relish the site.  Peter Muller had recently completed Barton House several doors up and the Sydney School of Architects had started to make its presence known across nearby  Castlecrag and Middle Cove.

Wally had developed an eye for the work of Ian McKay but McKay was too busy to take on the commission and referred Wally & Tiiu on to an emerging young architect, Bruce Rickard.

Wally & Tiiu visited the architect at his beautiful home in Kakoda Avenue, Wahroonga, and knew at that moment that this was the architect for them. 

While the houses on either side of 14 Morella Place sat perched, almost scared of the topography that descended into the bushland reserve below, Rickard designed a house that enveloped the natural features of the site, cantilevered over, and bridging the space between two large sandstone outcrops.  He connected the house directly to the site, allowing the reserve below the house to become a giant bush adventure playground for the Resanceff’s two children over the ensuing years. 

Friends and family loved visiting Morella Place as it was a house that loved guests and entertaining, with spans of glass enjoying the views to the serene bushland surrounds and glimpses of Sugarloaf Bay below.   The spacious main entertaining balcony enjoyed northerly sunshine all year around.

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