Architect: Best Overend of Taylor Soilleux & Overend 1936, alterations Architecture Architecture 2015
Inner North | R05
Cairo Flats consists of a U-shaped block of 36 apartments, with 26 studio and 10 one-bedroom residences. It was designed by the noted architect, Best Overend of the architectural practice Taylor, Soilleux and Overend, and built in 1936 by Blease Macpherson and Co. Through his regular articles in The Argus newspaper, Australian Home Beautiful and other magazines, Best Overend became the arch-publicist of modernism in the 1930s. Arguably no other built example better illustrates his ideas during this period than Cairo Flats. Overend had worked in London with modernist Wells Coates. On his return to Australia, he began writing on the minimum flat concept – an entirely functional living unit with built-in or fold-down furniture, complete with labour saving devices. Cairo Flats was designed to illustrate these principles. The flats sought a distinctive type of accommodation; the custom-designed bachelor flat, providing maximum amenity in minimum space for minimum rent. The flats were supported by a communal dining room, an in-house meal and laundry service and lockable garages. Cairo Flats established a major break with earlier types of flats in Australia. It is significant for introducing the flat to the modernist program in Australia, and for its acknowledgement of the existence of a new, modern way of living.
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO
Embracing the philosophy of making more with less, Architecture Architecture have created a simple space with maximum flexibility to address contemporary living needs within a minimum floor area – an exercise in creating a fully functional abode within a mere 24 square metres.
Fitzroy, full address available on booking
Tours led by Architecture Architecture director Michael Roper. All areas of the studio apartment and garden will be accessible.
Need to Know
Open: Sunday 28 July 10am–3.15pm
Tour Type: Bookings Required, $5
Tour Details: Tours depart every 45 minutes, running 45 minutes in groups of 10
Access: Limited mobility, 8 years and above
Building Type: Residential
Architecture Era: Interwar (1919-1940)
Transport: Tram stop 13: Nicholson St/Hanover St on route 96
Photo Credit: Tom Ross