Every now and then we are able to post up a residence which transcends our little world of listings and design chat and stands within a greater avenue of historical document, today we have a standout. ‘McNicoll House’ was a commission by Major General R.R.McNicoll for firm Grounds, Romberg and Boyd however this transpired in the very years in which Roy Grounds walked away with the National Galley of Victoria commission and this most famous of partnerships dissolved (1962). Suffice to say that while that drama played out on St. Kilda Rd on the other side of the Botanical Gardens this home initially begun by Grounds and concluded by Boyd, was conceived and constructed (c.1963). And it shows in that soaring heft of form that this encapsulates an architectural spirit more indicative of a Grounds design than Boyd. The main entry point is a private and unassuming drive in from Gordon Grove, whilst from the secondary road access of Caroline St. rises the bold, double story intervals of glass and block wall. A renovation in 2007 has kept the original timber and brick finishes internally, whilst adding a pool and some ‘contemporised’ flair, along with natural form landscaping by Caroline Blackman.
This local landmark has been home to three families and the current vendor seeks similar to assume gracious custodianship of this remarkable building.
We ourselves have been very lucky to receive some extra information about this residence, not least in a letter (posted here) from Robin Boyd to the owner dated April 1960, which not only captures the pragmatic and stunningly Australian casualness of Boyd but also offers a rare glimpse of his incredible design mind, in his own words.
We welcome you all to look, read and soak up this slice of Modernist Australian history at your leisure, and if you have the means then perhaps take it a little further……..
*B&W images curtesy of MCDA.