ABC Radio National’s Saturday “By Design” show on Saturdays is one of my picks. I love architecture, space and place. In today’s show we were invited to join ” Alan Saunders and the By Design team for a highly unusual forum celebrating the architecture and urban design of one of our greatest cities. Unusual because the venue for our forum is that quintessential Melbourne mode of transport, a tram: The City Circle tram to be exact.” As radio gives space for our minds to imagine [as opposed to the dulling TV can do] I found myself at the same places they were talking about. Flinders Street Station, Fed Square, The Royal Exhibition Buildings [where I did my final RMIT exams in 1971] the Parliament Buildings. Melbourne is my home town, my heart town, my city of choice, my Paris! Paris did get a mention in the context of the 40 metre high exclusion zone in and around Flinders Street. It is in that zone that Melbourne is alive with alley ways and coffee shops and art studios. Paris and Berlin and other great cities have stood against the high rise and so have enriched their cities. Brisbane [where I live now] still has an undeveloped right brain when it comes to town planning, pulling down such icons as Festival Hall and now the Regent Theatre. Listening to Saunders and his erstwhile team led me to drag a book out of my library by Phillip Goad that I bought in 2004: “A guide to Melbourne Architecture.” Divided into eras of architecture in Melbourne’s development, I found reference to Snellman House near the Yarra River [Ivanhoe] close to where I use to live between 1958 and 1961. [This house was built in 1954] As a young kid growing up in Melbourne at East Ivanhoe State School, I got to know Dirk Snellman. We were in the same class and I used to go to this amazing house that curved down the hill towards the river and we would run down the hallway with rooms branching off and the big gum just outside that seemed to hold it all together. And we would grab bits of carboard and slide down the hill on the grass next to the house. Funny that this is my memory at this moment in time as we slip into one year out of the other. Architecture and buildings hold stories and revisiting them evokes memories. Even the odd ABC program or a book on architecture can trigger a rich memory.
2011 and the tale of the winding house.