April 27, 2009

Iwan Iwanoff - Brutal Mike Brady vs Frank Lloyd Wright

Brutalism. Iwanoff brutalised Northam in the 70's. The Northam Town Council Offices (1974) and Library (1971) complex. Yes, this is in the country town of Northam, and yes - the good people of Northam, after settling in with the library complex, decided three years later to commission perhaps the single most brutal small scale building in Australia.

The Golovin House, 1959, Mount Lawley, clearly shows the Mike Brady side of Iwanoff. The site itself is modernism in a sea of federation (...not that theres anything wrong with that). This neighbourhood has been part of my stomping ground for some time. As a friend told me, who grew up on the same street: "I didn't know it was an Iwanoff, I just knew it as the house I would buy if I won lotto... "

Ramp to your front door? Yes please!

The next Iwanoff house is located in Coolbinia, the garden suburb to the west of Mount Lawley. Tough to get a good shot, as there is a huge For Sale sign up at the moment. I am unsure of the name, or construction year of this project. Your own Iwanoff - for 1.275 million. Ouch.

The highlight of the day was getting an extensive interior tour of the Iwanoff Tomich House (1972), located in City Beach. Iwan Iwanoff himself lived in this house. The current owners are clearly proud to live in such a masterpiece, and are also in awe of the talent of Iwanoff. Now that I have seen the four story spiral staircase, fish-scale-like brass interior finishes, and cathedral-like summer/winter lounge room, "in awe" is just the beginning.

A multi-story staircase surrounded by a glass and clinker brick tube takes you to your own private viewing platform - an eagles nest at the highest point of City Beach. You can see the highest point of the house in the photo below - the windowed box. Almost 360 degree ocean and interior views. Iwanoff really went to town on this one, inside and out. Mind-blowing.

The vault-like front door, replete with stainless steel facia. Although this door provided the gateway to the most amazing house, the same gateway also emenated sadness, as I discussed Iwan Iwanoff's death with the current owner, who was unaware of the fate that became of Iwanoff. As with Cameo, the Communards, and the Timex Social Club, for Iwan Iwanoff, 1986 was a brutal, brutal, year.


Jeff Court said...

Hi! great pics, Ive often looked at this one myself.. Could you tell me what was the fate of Iwanoff??

N. said...

Thanks for the compliment. Putting something together now about Iwanoff, check back!

EnterArchitecture said...

Refreshingly original research. Two things are occuring, a discovery of new projects and a discovery of the architect and the context of what it was like to live in 60s and 70s Perth, the most isolated city in the world. The astronauts on their moon voyage dubbed Perth the city of lights. This architecture is full of light and suggestive of the future, science fiction and all possibilities of turning dream spaces into reality, something that can only be done in isolation........

N. said...

Thanks for your comment. The Aldrich residence is an important project in Perth at the moment, good luck with a most ambitous and unique residence.

Anonymous said...


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