Robin Boyd Foundation and Peter McIntyre: Optimistic Experimental Open Day
Alistair McLean
Category: Heritage

Alistair: Posted on Thursday, 19 April 2012 9:56 PM


Secret Design Studio has always loved Peter McIntyre’s architecture, especially his work from the 1950’s.  The Robin Boyd Foundation has recognized his contribution to Melbourne’s architecture  in a “celebration of the life and achievements of Peter McIntyre”, which is wrapping up this Sunday 22 April with four of his Mornington houses open for inspection, but tickets are required to be purchased from the Robin Boyd Foundation prior to the day.  Tickets will not be available on the day, so plan your weekend now!


Go to this link to download the brochure and booking form (at the bottom of the page):

From the Robin Boyd Foundations website: “2012 marks Peter McIntyre’s 85 year and more than 60 years in practice as an architect  – a remarkable achievement. In his own words ‘I have one foot in the grave, the other’s on a banana skin, but my hands still firmly on the drawing board’!


‘Much of the content of McIntyre’s work of the 50s is connected to his dynamic personality, that of a hyper-active performer whose directorial enthusiasm is infectious and difficult to restrain. His 1950s buildings have a fresh quality of incisive one-liners, a festive lightness and a speed of conception that are an exaggerated and extreme release from the strictures of the immediate post-war years’. Philip Goad

Exploring more picturesque traditions in the 70s and 80s Peter’s gusto and enthusiasm continued to inspire.”

Perhaps his most famous house is the River House in Kew, which was built in 1955 for he and his wife. It is situated on a densely forested block between a steep incline and a bend in the Yarra river. Built in 1955, the house is an excellent example of the idealism and experimentation that characterised some architecture during the post-war period.


The central structure in the house is a large, steel, triangular frame that is exposed both internally and externally.  It is a very unusual structure in that it has a relatively modest interior, which is cosy and comfortably scaled, yet it has a spectacular external presence.


Branching out from the central frame are two 40-foot cantilevers with a deck at each end. A spiral staircase curls up the central frame, connecting the three levels of the house. Inside is painted in bright primary colours.