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The Unforgettable 'Gruzman House’ Set For Auction

Modernist Australia

Together with Modernist Australia, today we introduce an absolute PEARLER of an MCM classic. Welcome to the terraced-in-rock home of (and by) legendary architect Neville Gruzman, in Darling Point, Sydney.

But before you scroll down, we’re also asking for a little something in return: please take a few mins to submit a nomination to get this residence on the heritage register, and ensure its survival as it hits the market!

19th September, 2018

The house is situated in the sought-after location of Darling Point, Sydney. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

It was designed by legendary architect Neville Gruzman for this family. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

Take a few mins to submit a nomination to help get this residence on the heritage register. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

It comprises five bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, plus also comes with an additional four apartments as part of the deal! Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

A rare modern design, it features bespoke touches to the interiors. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

It features an open-plan living area. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

Aspects of the facade call to mind Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Photo – courtesy of Sydney Sotherby’s International Realty.

Patricia Callan and Pete Bakacs
Wednesday 19th September 2018

‘One of the truly singular homes of our Australian Modern architecture heritage.’ – Patricia Callan.

For all our gushing adjectives and talk of rarity, today we present one of the truly singular homes of our Australian Modern architecture heritage; the sprawling, terraced-in-rock home that legendary architect Neville Gruzman designed for himself and family in 1958 (and extended in 1963 and the early 90s).

Gruzman House is an example visited by architecture students, fawned over by fans and described by Jørn Utzon as having ‘The best living room in Australia’. A masterpiece of timber, space, light and dark which most instantly prompts comparisons with Frank Lloyd Wright and (by extension) Edo period Japanese architecture, this compound of five bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms also comes with an additional four apartments as part of the deal.

Now, it wouldn’t be a first-class pedigree residence in our biggest city, asking a likely eight-figure price tag without having a tumultuous history. A difficult genius architect (Gruzman apparently going from one lawsuit to another during his entire career) which inevitably begets strong-willed descendants and relatives holding arguments over money, heritage concerns, upkeep and market movements.

Suffice it to say at this point, though nigh on famous and flagged for heritage protection for many years, this house has nothing of the sort. It remains completely in the hands of the open market.

We’d like to think that its architectural merit, its historical stature and landmark place in the minds of locals would keep it from destruction and/or some horrifying ‘renovation’, but nothing in this world is certain with the sales pitch (in traditionally grubby fashion) calling for among other things, a ‘visionary developer’, once again reminding us that for some people nothing is sacred.

As such, and though we feel rather impotent and tardy about it, we take the lead of Rebecca Hawcroft (AKA Othermoderns) and suggest to you all to submit a nomination to get this residence on the heritage register. It’s the very least we can do to hold onto such a magnificent Modernist architectural endeavour in our own backyard!

View the listing here, and original MA article here.

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.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net