When Bulgarian architect Iwan Iwanoff arrived in Fremantle in 1950, he helped redefine the state’s architectural landscape by introducing international design and construction techniques to Perth. In the lead-up to this year’s Open House weekend, design and architectural enthusiasts have their chance to look inside one of the famous architect’s homes this Sunday.
“Iwan Iwanoff really captures the innovative spirit of the time,” says Open House Perth’s creative director Carly Barrett. “While many people would recognise modernist houses as icons of design internationally, not many may know that Perth was a global leader in housing innovation. Alongside California, Western Australia was also known as a pioneer in using steel for domestic construction.”
Iwanoff’s Brutalist-inspired abodes, and their signature concrete breezeblocks and wooden craftsmanship, are scattered throughout suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Karrinyup, City Beach, Floreat and Dianella.
Today, his mid-century homes are some of the most tightly held properties in Perth. There’s even a Facebook page that tracks when an Iwanoff-designed home goes onto the market and is open to the public.
“Iwan Iwanoff also designed many commercial projects that are open, but because Iwanoff was predominately a residential architect, most projects are private,” says Barrett. “This is the first Iwanoff to be associated with the Open House Perth event but we are definitely looking for more.”
Open this weekend, the Frank House (5 Patula Place, Menora) was built in 1969 and features Iwanoff signatures such as open-plan living and extensive wood panelling. The home is open 2pm to 4pm on Sunday July 2.
As well as the Iwanoff opening, this weekend will see the opening of the Bottleyard Apartments by MJA Group, developed by the Handle Group. Open on Saturday 10am to 3pm, the project is described by Barrett as a great example of new architecture, inspired by both colonial and Indigenous heritage.
“This year we are highlighting some of WA’s most innovative homes and apartments that tackle big issues like density, community and affordability,” she says.
These two openings are a preview of the main Open House Perth event being held November 11–12 (full program still to be finalised). For more details visit www.openhouseperth.net.