46-15 - Boyd House - 27 Palmer Place

This building at number 27 is the only structure designed in South Australia by the architect Robin Boyd who achieved international renown.

Boyd was famous from the 1950’s onwards, as an advocate of a new style of architecture, functionally suited to Australian climate and lifestyle. He wrote several widely-read books on the subject. He studied in England, Europe and the US in the 1950’s and was on Canberra’s National Capital Planning Committee Canberra in 1967.

He received the royal honour of CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1971.

While on a lecture visit to Adelaide in the early 1950s Robin Boyd stayed with the architect Gavin Walkley in a stone house on this site that had been built in the 1840’s. The original house was suffering from old age ,and requiring a lot of expensive maintenance so Walkley decided to demolish it.

Walkley asked Boyd to design a house which would take into consideration the magnificent view of the Adelaide hills.

In 1955 when it was designed, and in 1956 when it was built, there were many aspects of the design, including the steel frame, that were very new, especially to South Australia. The builder had some difficulty with the unfamiliar construction of the time, and most of the neighbours disapproved of the design.

The house is a significant example of the `International Style' which emerged in the USA in the late 1940’s. The mushroom-shaped form of the house enhances the way the upper floor appears to float above the ground.

While the building has nothing in common with its neighbours, its integrity is high, it is of small scale and unobtrusive.

Now cast your eyes over to the two-storey stone house next door, on the right, at 29 Palmer Place. That house originally had a ground floor verandah with interesting wooden fretwork over the front entrance. In 1927 the stone walls were rendered and a double storey verandah with large pillars was added.

Now walk a few metres further north to the Anglican Church “Rectory” at number 35.



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