Mies van der Rohe-inspired 1970 office block heritage battle in Melbourne

Mies van der Rohe-inspired 1970 office block heritage battle in Melbourne
Mies van der Rohe-inspired 1970 office block heritage battle in Melbourne

Heritage devotees are fighting to protect one of Melbourne’s best, but least known, heritage listed modernist gems, the 1970 offices of Yuncken Freeman.

Elegantly detailed with expressed steel columns, inspired by German/US modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the unassuming building is deemed as one of Melbourne’s purest modernist masterpieces.

Melbourne Heritage Action believes steps must be taken to better ensure a design more sensitive to the heritage listed building, with greater setbacks and a stronger separation between old and new.

They have lodged an objection to plans for 407 King Street set opposite the Flagstaff Gardens following a proposal to have a tower poking out the top.

"There is no doubt that this building is one of the lesser known but most important landmarks of modernism in Melbourne, not just the City of Melbourne," Melbourne Heritage Action advised.

It was designed by the prolific firm of Yuncken Freeman, who were the leaders in the provision of corporate modernism in Victoria in the 1960s and 70s.

"They produced a number of office buildings in variations of the latest in minimalist style, inspired by the leading modernist in the United States Mies van de Rohe and the interpretations of his ouvre by Skidmore Owings & Merrill.

"It was the first of their designs to be clearly following the Mies / SOM lead, designed as their own offices."


407 King Street as captured by Peter Wille after its construction, courtesy of State Library 


Heritage Melbourne Action sugest the proposal was far too dominant over the heritage listed office building it will use a podium.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.


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