Modernistic igloo 1950s Victorian Rice house listed at Eltham

Modernistic igloo 1950s Victorian Rice house listed at Eltham
Modernistic igloo 1950s Victorian Rice house listed at Eltham

An experimental 1950s Eltham house is for sale with $820,000 to $900,000 price guidance.

The Rice House comprises of two separate structures built in the mid-1950s, one with four lumps containing kitchen, living, dining and master bedroom, and the other with two lumps housing a self-contained flat.

The igloo-style building on 4000 sq m at Ryans Road was commissioned to the mid-century Melbourne architect Kevin Borland.

It was the first commercial construction by the noted Melbourne bush builder Alistair Knox.

Its structure formed of catenary or self-supporting arches is heritage-listed. Kevin Borland was an innovative young architects having worked firstly with Harry Seidler.

Clients Harrie and Lorna Rice were seeking something "avant-garde" as their “first and only house”.

Having spent their lives there until Harrie Rice and later his wife, Lorna died, the house has now been listed for sale.

In accordance to their parents’ wishes, Mrs Parker is hoping “the extremely experimental building” will be bought by someone who will love it and restore it with due respect.

“I want to do the right thing by the house,” told Fairfax Media. 

She asked her agents, Eltham’s Morrison Kleeman, to deter developers from purchasing it “and destroying its integrity by cramming it.

"I hope that whoever gets it will reinstate it”.

She also hopes the draped concrete canopy that once connected the two buildings will be reconstructed.

In buildings that have been compared to a sequence of concrete caves, “or concrete igloos, or Nissan huts”, the construction that required wooden arches to be overlaid with hessian that was then coated in three layers of concrete, were completely hand-made.

“I spent a lot of time on that roof”, she said.

“There is something very organic and very primal about the house," she said about the house that was always full of intellectuals and academics. 

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Trophy Sale Rice House

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