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Melbourne council begins survey of one of Australia’s densest concentrations of mid-century modernist architecture

The City of Bayside has begun a study of mid-century modernist architecture in the south-eastern Melbourne suburbs of Beaumaris and Blackrock.

This follows a decision made by the council earlier in the year to apply to the Victorian planning minister for interim heritage controls on 45 mid-century Beaumaris properties while the study is conducted. A decision has not yet been made on whether or not to approve the request.

The suburbs are populated with a proportionally large number of houses by some of Melbourne’s most significant modernist architects, including Anatol Kagan, Chancellor and Patrick and Yuncken Freeman. Only lightly developed before World War II, modernist architecture flourished in the area in the post-war period.

Bayside mayor Alex del Porto said, “This study is part of the big picture to safeguard the municipality’s character for current and future generations and will help us to better understand the heritage value of mid-century buildings.”

The study is part of the council’s Bayside Heritage Action Plan, adopted by the council in July.

The plan recommended that specific attention be paid to the Beaumaris area and to mid-century architecture, acknowledging that “challenges exist in relation to closing the gaps in Council’s knowledge of heritage places, particularly inter-war and post-World War II buildings, structures and features.”

“The heritage overlay contains a lower proportion of places from the mid-century modern era compared with earlier eras such as the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

“Suburbs in the south of the municipality are underrepresented in the Heritage Overlay and this period of architecture is intrinsic to its historical development.”

Elsewhere in Melbourne, the neighbouring council of Glen Eira secured interim heritage controls for an Anatol Kagan-designed home that would have been demolished and replaced with eight dwellings.

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