Boyd House II / Walsh Street was designed by Robin Boyd for his family in 1957 and is his best known work. It is an exemplar of modernist Australian architecture. The house remains largely unchanged from the time it was first designed and occupied by the Boyd family – a time capsule to the perennially popular mid-century modernist period. Furnished with pieces designed by Boyd’s associates Grant and Mary Featherston, and others, the house provides a unique insight into Melbourne’s design leaders of the 50s and 60s.
Boyd used the opportunity to design his own family home to reject domestic convention and contribute a house of programmatic and technical innovation and mastery. Walsh Street is an experimental house, designed to be enjoyed and explored by all who visit, and now the home of the Robin Boyd Foundation.
An invitation from Robin and Patricia Boyd to Walsh Street was one of the most coveted invitations in Melbourne. For members of Melbourne’s arts and cultural community it was a special place to meet, discuss and dine. The house was designed to be enjoyed and experienced, and exists in a near original state, just as it did whilst the Boyd family lived here, right down to the furniture, artwork and books.
Experience the unique aspects of how the house addresses the street, how the front door opens into the main pavilion and draws you into the ‘heart’ of the home – the courtyard garden, one of the most pleasurable aspects of the house. Also, its unique, cantilevered roof draws the eye down toward the greenery of the courtyard, providing glimpses through the various levels and zones of the home, towards the children’s pavilion and views to the city and mountains beyond. The openness and looseness of the spaces generate a sense of welcoming informality and comfort, which affords a high degree of flexibility for entertaining and the varying degrees of privacy necessary for day-to-day family life.
This 3D tour is the result of a collaboration between the Robin Boyd Foundation volunteers, Arup and PHORIA and the first digital presentation of the work of the Robin Boyd Foundation Collection team.
The Making of the Walsh Street 3D Tour
We participated in Open House Melbourne in 2019, welcoming scores of first -time visitors to Walsh Street. The July weekend festival had seen tens of thousands of people come out to celebrate architecture and the city. The Open House network sees similar events hosted annually in 40 cities across 5 continents.
However the impact on the Covid -19 crisis meant the Robin Boyd Foundation had to close Walsh Street’s doors to public tours, talks, film nights and our programme for 2020.
Fortunately Open House Melbourne 2020 was able to proceed as a purely online event, with many of Melbourne iconic and celebrated buildings offering virtual tours, as well as a series of public talks focussing on critical issues for the city.
We were very fortunate to have a narrow window in which to safely co-ordinate a Matterport 3D capture by Arup’s Michael Alder and the filming of our volunteer guides. The collaboration then proceeded efficiently online, between our collections team and Phoria to produce this impressive virtual tour.
We acknowledge the contributions of our project partners: