History reinvents in Ringwood with Mr Knox

Six oversized townhouses on suburban home sized blocks will be developed on the enormous Ringwood block.

A prominent and enormous Ringwood development site with the potential to make way for some dozen townhouses, is instead being replaced with a unique low-density product – a nod to the property’s former use.

Baillie House, penned by revered architect Alistair Knox and built in 1968, once occupied the prime plot at 94 Plymouth Road.

Alistair Knox designed numerous houses in Melbourne’s east. He was an Eltham shire councillor for three years from 1972 and its President in 1975.

Materials, including wooden beams, external timber, and bricks, are part of the design.

The founder of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects based a career on designing comfortable and sustainable homes working in harmony with the environment.

Many of his remaining homes are hotly contested by buyers. In June, a North Warrandyte dwelling he designed in 1950, Redfern House, sold in five minutes at an auction contested by three bidders.

At 94 Plymouth Road, boutique developer Adepto Co is aiming to channel the architecture which made Alistair Knox so popular.

Its project, dubbed Mr Knox, includes six oversized, single-storey homes – each containing three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study, outdoor entertainment areas, gardens and double garage. Natural building materials, including wooden beams, external timber, and bricks, are also part of the design.

Like many of Alistair Knox’s builds, the homes will include high-level widows and skillion roofs (the ceiling heights range from 2.7 metres to 3.5 metres). All the dwellings will also include fireplaces.

Unusually, each dwelling will occupy a relatively sizeable land parcel – arguably what is now considered a suburban sized block – ranging between 300 square metres and 450 sqm, and built around mature trees.

All units are at least 20 square and have an entrance hall.

Adepto Co director David Tricarico said Mr Knox is designed to appeal to owner-occupiers, who have in recent years replaced investors as a source of demand for medium-density dwellings.

“Adepto Co has always created product designed for discerning owner-occupiers over investors,” Mr Tricarico said.

“Our properties allow buyers to have a greater say in how a dwelling is customised. They are also designed with liveability in mind to offer things like ample storage, larger-than-average living spaces, impressive amenities and sizeable gardens,” Mr Tricarico said.

“With Mr Knox, we decided to create house-sized units. Some of the dwellings occupy blocks bigger than those being subdivided on outer suburban housing estates.

“The internal areas of the Mr Knox dwellings are also substantial – between 20 and 21 square [185 and 195 square metres]”.

Alistair Knox


Sustainable features including home-battery storage power, hydronic floor heating and home automation will mix with luxury fixtures, including Asko appliances, Mr Tricario added, of the Mr Knox project.

Ringwood, about 23 kilometres east of the CBD, was identified in the state government’s landmark Melbourne 2030 planning policy as an Activity Centre, with developers in recent years replacing low-rise homes and commercial sites with apartment and townhouse complexes.

Earlier this month we reported that the InterContinental Hotel Group has leased part of a 16-level apartment complex proposed for 301 Maroondah Highway to occupy for its Holiday Inn and Suites brand.

Near to this, a 19-level apartment building is earmarked to replace the former Chippy’s Hardware site at 28-30 Maroondah Highway – at the opposite end of the suburb to Mr Knox.

With the extension of the Eastern Freeway from Doncaster Road to Springvale Road in 1997, Ringwood can be accessed from the city by car in about 20 minutes.

Eastlink, which connects numerous eastern Melbourne suburbs and ends near Peninsula Link, near the Mornington Peninsula, also begins in Ringwood.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.