Boyd House II, South Yarra, 1957
Image: Architectural Model - Boyd House
Source: Museum Victoria
Ten years after building his first house in Camberwell in 1947, the Australian architect and author Robin Boyd built another house for his family in South Yarra. The second Boyd House combines the structural daring of the McIntyre House and the gracious elegance of the Grounds House to create one of the seminal works of 1950s Australian domestic architecture. The concept of this house is a draped roof with an open plan and free-flowing space beneath. A long rectangle is roofed by a sweeping catenary of planks suspended on wire cables. Beneath this all-encompassing roof, there are no longer rooms but platforms of space. The catenary sweeps the length of the sloping site containing within it a central courtyard, a living and parents' block at one end, and the children's block at the other. The Boyd House II becomes a private and urbane courtyard house. One enters the house from a bridge-like ramp and descends into the living room below. From the street, all one sees is the wide front door, its jaunty canopy and resplendent door knocker. The horizontal break-up of the window mullions, the refined built-in furniture and the translucent glazed walls of the courtyard beyond suggest a love of the restraint, elegance and structural logic of traditional Japanese architecture.