Melbourne / Merchant Builders Open Day

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The late 60s heralded a growing idealism and national awareness in Australia. After a period of conservatism, there was a sense that it was time for change. There was an emerging awareness of the importance of the built environment, the quality of design and liveability of cities and suburbs.

Inspired by a vision to reform suburban housing, Merchant Builders was founded in 1965 by David Yencken and John Ridge.

With a belief that suburban housing design could be more than monotonous rows of conventional, repetitive tract housing, Merchant Builders inspired a generation of home buyers providing an alternative of well designed houses that were appropriate to the Australian landscape, climatic conditions and lifestyle. They experimented with new types of subdivisions, building forms, internal zoning, sensitivity to the landscape and building efficiencies. Assembling a team of architects, landscape architects, interior designers and graphic designers, Merchant Builders educated public taste, inspired prospective home buyers and challenged the building industry of the day. They provided an alternative the likes of which had not existed in Melbourne since Robin Boyd opened the Small Homes Service in 1947, and has not been repeated again until the recent debut of the Nightingale Model.

 

The Robin Boyd Foundation is delighted to present the second Open Day of 2016!

DESIGN DISCUSSION
Tuesday – 15th November

Bookings must be made in advance. As this will be held at Walsh Street, tickets are limited and early booking is recommended.

6.30pm – 290 Walsh Street, South Yarra

David Yencken – one of the  founding partners of Merchant Builders – will participate in a discussion about the origins, intentions and achievements of Merchant Builders.

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OPEN DAY
Sunday – 20th November
Merchant Builders
re-thinking the suburban dream
Houses, Townhouses, Cluster Developments and Subdivisions

Designs by: Graeme Gunn, Jackson & Walker, McGlashan & Everist, Charles Duncan, Terry Dorrough, Tract and Ellis Stones.
Inspired by a vision to reform suburban housing Merchant Builders was founded in 1965 by David Yencken and John Ridge

 

Houses, Townhouses, Cluster Developments and Subdivisions

 

Graeme Gunn, Jackson & Walker, McGlashan & Everist, Charles Duncan,

Terry Dorrough, Tract Consultants & Ellis Stones.

The late 60s heralded a growing idealism and national awareness in Australia. After a period of conservatism, there was a sense that it was time for change. There was an emerging awareness of the importance of the built environment, the qualitiy of design and liveability of cites and suburbs.

Inspired by a vision to reform suburban housing Merchant Builders was founded in 1965 by David Yencken and John Ridge.

With a belief that suburban housing design could be more than monotonous rows of conventional, repetitive tract housing, Merchant Builders inspired a generation of home buyers providing an alternative of well designed houses that were appropriate to the Australian landscape, climatic conditions and lifestyle. They experimented with new types of subdivisions, building forms, internal zoning, sensitivity to the landscape and building efficiencies.

Assembling a team of architects, landscape architects, interior designers and graphic designers, Merchant Builders educated public taste, inspired prospective home buyers and challenged the building industry of the day. They provided an alternative the likes of which had not existed in Melbourne since Robin Boyd opened the Small Homes Service in 1947, and has not been repeated again until the recent debut of the Nightingale Model.

 

“Living in a Merchant Builder’s house was not just about seeking shelter

it was a statement of one’s values and ideals.”

 

Open Day Projects

 


Malvern Townhouses 1967
Architect and site planning: Graeme Gunn
Landscape design: Ellis Stones

Planned and developed by Merchant Builders this group of nine townhouses was designed by Graeme Gunn. There were three different townhouse plans offerred: a single storey, a two storey and a two storey split level option. Redeveloping a large site formerly occupied by a single house, many mature trees from the old garden were retained while the site density was significantly increased. The new townhouses were carefully planned to achieve a variety of designs within an overall harmony of form and materials. Each townhouse opens off the shared driveway and has at least one private garden sized courtyard.

Toorak Townhouses  1967
Architect and site planning: Graeme Gunn
Landscape design: Ellis StonesAn inner city development of four townhouses, where the scale is slightly larger – and possibly grander – than other Merchant Builder’s projects. This may be because one of the townhouses was designed for one of Merchant Builder’s founding partners: John Ridge and his family. The four dwellings follow the natural landform as they cascade down the slope towards the Yarra River. A shared ‘street’ provides access to each dwelling which is arranged around a private courtyard.  .

Elliston Estate 1968
Architects: Graeme Gunn, David McGlashan & Neil Everist, Daryl Jackson & Evan Walker, Charles Duncan.
Site planning: Earle Shaw & Partners
Landscape design: Ellis StonesThe redevelopment of the Rosanna Municipal golf links was intended to create an integrated house/garden setting. The private or personal living environment was to be integrated into a broader community context. The Elliston Estate adopts cul-de-sac street forms following the natural slope of the land down to a creek and communal park. Electricity supply and all services were reticulated underground and footpaths were eliminated so private gardens would extend to the road kerb implying that the houses were located in a park. Four architects provided house designs utilising a limited range of materials and simple single storey forms positioned with increasing set-backs as they were sited closer to the park so that views were shared by all.


Kew Townhouses 1968
Architect and site planning: Graeme Gunn
Landscape design: Ellis StonesThis set of six concrete block townhouses won the 1970 RAIA (Victorian Chapter) Bronze medal. Each house was designed for family living with at least three bedrooms and provided with private courtyards, a double carport and at least one private balcony at first floor level. According to Philip Goad, the use of bluestone blocks and Australian natives while retaining existing trees creates a village like complex which employs honestly expressed materials and construction, realising the 1960s shift towards a more humanised and textured communal living environment.



Winter Park 1969
Architect: Graeme Gunn
Site planning: Graeme Gunn and Merchant Designs
Landscape design: Ellis StonesA cluster development of 20 houses grouped around common access courts and all facing onto a park. There are four clusters each made up of five houses designed by Graeme Gunn. In ‘Melbourne Architecture’ Philip Goad suggests that the design, planning and ownership structure of Winter Park marks the highpoint of David Yencken’s idealist hopes for an alternative vision of suburbia. Winter Park became a demonstration model of the possibilities of the cluster concept and was led to the Cluster Titles Act and interim cluster code (1975) prepared under David Yencken’s leadership on behalf of the Victorian government.

Vermont Park  1977
Architects: Graeme Gunn, Terry Dorrough
Site planning and Landscape design: TractIn 1977 Merchant Builders and Tract Consultants developed Vermont Park, a residential cluster subdivision in Nunawading, Melbourne. They converted a four-hectare site, formerly an orchard, into a residential complex of forty-three homes with shared access, open space and a community centre that had barbecues and a swimming pool. Tree preservation, new plantings and small garden spaces together gave the impression the houses were set in a forest.

 “Builders who are concerned with the physical and social impact of their endeavours are a rare commodity in Australian society. Those that have understood the importance of what they do and are prepared to be pioneering, even in the face of known marketing precepts, are even rarer. The work of Merchant Builders since 1965 gains for them a unique place among innovative builders.”
Robin Boyd Environmental Medal citation

 


 

Open Day – Sunday 20th November

 

This is a self guided tour. Details of the addresses of all properties will be provided with your ticket.

Tickets must be pre-purchased. Tickets for individual properties will not be available. Book early as this event is expected to sell out – ticket numbers are limited.

All properties will be open between 10.00am and 4.00pm for viewing at your leisure.

Please note: Entry to all properties will involve a significant numbers of steps.

 

Open Day Prices

General Public $90.00    Foundation Friends   $70.00    Students: $35.00

Please note: Tickets containing the address details of all properties will be issued by email on the Wednesday prior to the open day. Tickets will be sent to the email address you use when registering to purchase your tickets.

 


 

Design Discussion – Tuesday 15th November

 

Discussions will be held at ‘Walsh Street’ at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start.

 

Design Discussion Prices

General Public $25.00    Foundation Friends   $20.00    Students $10.00

Please note: Tickets will not be issued for the design discussion. The names of those who have made bookings will be on a register at the door for checking upon arrival at Walsh Street.

 


 

Payment for both events can be made with VISA and MASTERCARD.

Unfortunately other types of credit cards cannot be accepted.

Upon completing your transaction and purchase you will be issued with a tax receipt.


Once bookings are completed, cancellations and refunds are not possible.

 

OPEN DAY BOOKINGS     CLICK HERE 

 

DAVID YENCKENDESIGN DISCUSSION BOOKINGS   CLICK HERE

 https://robinboyd.org.au/category-events/75-open-house-program/232-merchant-builders