A Montmorency house designed by mud-brick artisan architect Alistair Knox is expected to sell for close to seven figures at auction next month.
The single-storey two-bedroom dwelling, with a second building at the rear containing two studios, sits on a slightly sloping block at 43 Alexander Street, near Montmorency Park and the Plenty River (which is also the Yallambie suburb border).
Darren James agents Ashley Croall and Kelsey Spencer are expecting $880,000-$950,000.
South Melbourne raised Knox was educated at Scotch College.
His architecture career started following a course with Melbourne Technical College – which was said to have influenced him, even though he famously dropped out and self- taught.
The designer worked 40 years, also becoming a landscape architect and environmentalist.
In 1972 Knox was elected an Eltham Shire Councillor. Three years later he was the local government’s president.
The University of Melbourne awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Architecture in 1982.
Montmorency mud-brick house
The architect’s first mud-brick house was developed in Montmorency in 1947 – soon after a Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve discharge.
Alistair Knox innovations
Knox often tried untested and time-consuming building practises.
The architect is believed to have been the first to think of incorporating concrete slabs into domestic (home) buildings.
He is also credited as playing an influential role “creating Eltham’s distinctive residential environment” according to Heritage Victoria.
His portfolio can be found in Balwyn, Doncaster, Ferntree Gully, Templestowe and, in the regions, Flinders, Moe South and Somers.
An Eltham park is named after him.
The heritage protected Knox House
In the early 1960s, Knox purchased land on Mount Pleasant Road, Eltham, from an orchardist and friend, Eddie Anderson.
This site – also known as 2 King Street – went on to accommodate the designer’s family home – incorporating a circular office built out of second-hand bluestone pitches.
The dwelling is registered by a Heritage Victoria Overlay.
According to Australian National University, Knox chose the area because of nearby artist colony Montsalvat.
His style is said to take cues from Frank Lloyd Wight, Francis Greenway, Sir Rob Grounds, Robin Boyd and Walter Burley Griffin.
The Kruger factory in Geelong is within a non-residential building undertaken by Knox, which include commercial projects, religious buildings, schools and gardens.
When did Alistair Knox die?
Alistair Knox died in 1986 while visiting clients in Sunnyside, near Mildura. He was designing for many clients until his death.
This Alistair Knox Foundation link has more details about the architect including images of his work.