Gently put down whatever you are holding, take a seat, and breathe slowly as pure unadulterated mid-century magic floods your eyes and replenishes your soul!
We often hear/tell of hidden architectural gems dotting our entire country, sometimes the overlooked work of some architect or other. The ‘Jones House’, however, just popped up online, initially marketed as ‘Art Deco’ – oh, the dire state of our built heritage knowledge!
Igniting an online hyper buzz, this unique property has encouraged queries about the what/when/where flooding in. As usual, Simon Reeves came into his own, revealing that this is one of few standing houses in Melbourne designed by Raymond Jones. Hailing from Geelong, Jones was an architecture student at Melbourne University in the late 1940s, where he toiled under the illustrious tutelage of Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, John Mockridge, and Frederick Romberg (doesn’t get much heavier than that).
Taking a particular fancy to Boyd’s philosophy and works (in between gigs kicking goals for Collingwood and Melbourne Football Clubs), Jones started his architectural career at the firm now known as Yuncken Freeman. Though, in 1953, he departed for Western Australia, never to return. There, he continued his magnificent creative output (and premiership footy playing with South Freo). The cherry on top? Raymond Jones (b. 1925) is alive and still boldly fights the Modernist fight for us all, as he is quoted in Wikipedia:
Jones is not impressed by a lot of modern architecture in Perth, saying he’s depressed by the ‘proliferation of ugliness’. ‘We are just not going forward at all, we are going backwards’. He blames Perth’s ugly, impractical and unsustainable modern homes on the laziness and expediency of politicians, city planners and mass-marketed project homes. Mr Jones says he is a crusader for sensible, environmentally aware design. Jones is still practising as an architect as of 2011 and has no interest in quitting entirely any time soon, instead focusing on projects of interest…’
The ‘Jones House’, commissioned in 1952 by a relative of Raymond, is the stuff of California dreams and marvellous modern Melbourne. With a pedigree, as well as a confidence and completeness of design that is very rare for such an undocumented home, it remains magnificently unaltered.
Based on all this, it should be in line for a heritage overlay. In lieu of that, and in order to ensure it’s safe passage from one owner to the next, we Bat-Signal those MCM dreamers out there with the cash (a respectful amount in comparison to similar homes on the market right now, might we dare say) to look no more – this is it.
This is the one you have been waiting for.
Run by Patricia Callan and Pete Bakacs, Modernist Australia is the passion-project/website dedicated to raising the profile of mid-century design and modernist principles in Australia. For more swell eye-candy, visit Modernistaustralia.com.