A landmark of early Australian Modernism cementing (pun!) the reputation of Sir Roy Grounds as one of the state’s and subsequently the country’s premier progressive architects, ‘Quamby’ is a set of 6 flats built in 1941. A brief architectural rundown from Steven Coverdale of MCDA** as follows:
The flats and maisonette curve out towards the Yarra in four fan-shaped segments, with cantilevered balconies………structural footings are off-form concrete and the walls are of bagged brick. The effect of the fan-shapes is to give a concave form to the street facade….Internally, the flats have an open kitchen, living and dining areas with wide north-facing windows. The kitchens and bathrooms are well-detailed with built in fittings. Each flat has its own large outside area…….. The lower walls are built with stone from the site. The upper walls are painted brick, and steel columns support the side balconies. All the roofs are flat.
Though difficult to conceive of today most all of the above listed attributes were either outright trailblazing or at the very least a version of architectural creativity and consideration never before witnessed in Australia. Even now it is clear to see this near 80 year old building as a beautiful and individual statement of form and living and searing reminder of the insipid mediocrity rising wholesale on urban and suburban blocks today. That said we’ve seen and listed a couple of these apartments before, so residing in or owning such historical high-water marks is not that exclusive (if you have the money).
**Thanks also to Steven for the historical images.