Tivoli Road House


“Tivoli Road is a rarity in Melbourne. It is narrow, lined with plane trees and climbs a steep hill. For its first 100 years it was hidden behind lower South Yarra’s factories and quarries; an industrial area that the suburb likes to forget. that area is now covered with expensive housing.

In the 1960’s the street was invaded by a few brown brick six- and 12-packs, but that area was still not smart enough to attract the massive redevelopment that changed much of the suburb. Most of the street’s Victorian houses survived and are ready for another century of domestic service.

In the 1980’s the now-gone Prahran Council tried to direct a wave of change to adopt a Pseudish Style in the naive belief that new buildings could not live with old.

Proposed houses had to adopt architectural fancy dress to get a planning permit. Now it’s another era. Stonnington has accepted that if it’s good Victorian it should stay, but new houses should reflect the values of their time. Consequently, over the last decade, a crop of contemporary houses has arisen along Tivoli Road’s long curve up to the hill above the river.

An early example of the new thinking is 68 Tivilo Road, South Yarra. It is eight years since this derelict, stand-alone terrace house got the treatment. Its cast-iron veranda had gone, so it was replaced with a steel screen to shield it from the western su. This new front looks smart, but no screening device can totally exclude the western sun and still maintain outlook.

The four front rooms – two up, two down – and the hallways were restored, but the new work was uncompromisingly contemporary. all this is according to the Burra Charter; the Bible for conservation consultants. The rear lower, narrow wing was replaced with a structure that includes living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen that looks, eight years on, as though it hasn’t seen many three-hours roasts.”

Neil Clerehan 2005


Geoff Crosby

Project categories: residential - revitalise.