You won’t find Robert Campbell’s name on the list of influential modernist architects that shaped our city, yet here in Aranda, a home of significance sits. Bob’s home. It deserves to be found in the pages of ‘100 Canberra Houses’ or on the ‘Canberra House’ blog. Recognised modernist lovers would speak of Bob’s character and passion in ‘The Man about the House’ or ‘The Rumpus Room and Other Stories’ as the spirited artisan, the progressive architect, a creative.
Yet, you will not have come across his work, his private commissions or a firm of architects working under his esteemed mentorship.
His architecture has largely served family, and our city, Canberra. His talent and love of design has been delivered in countless projects across our city. First arriving in Canberra as site architect for what is now the University of Canberra, his professional work largely centred on commercial and government projects.
Unassuming from the street, unpretentious and barely visible, the campbell.house represents a life of design, Bob’s life passion, his innate talent and his true love: his family.
The Mirning Crescent block was purchased in January 1969, the design and construction a family project on weekends with his wife and sons helping, and utilising minimal contractors sourced from the UC site. Bob’s resourcefulness, creativity and sensible approach, resulted in a unique house, practical yet elegant.
The moody interiors are beautiful in their originality, preserving their timeless quality and condition. Bob’s craftsmanship is evident in the detailing, with custom built timber joinery throughout and bespoke features. The fixed round table is an example of the innovative design driven by practical needs and solutions. Designed on a grid system, the house’s modern style and convenience is characterised throughout by simplicity, continuity and democratic design.
With no architraves, no skirtings, no cornices, the design enables the eye to be drawn by straight lines and floor to ceiling windows to the views outdoors. Large lineal bricks were custom made under instruction to be mixed with the ‘lightest sand and lightest grey cement’. This attention to fine detailing, and deliberate exclusion of ornamentation, results not only in clean, unfussy lines but also addresses the practical considerations of time and money.
The mid-century home was designed as an ongoing visual dialogue involving all aspects of the interior – architecture, lighting, furniture, flooring- the current home celebrates and continues this dialogue, Bob’s exceptional skills as a draftsman evident in the attention to detail.
To experience such a home in real life is a special thing to share. The form is simple, the design is functional and the aesthetic inspires contemporary living, a home that achieves exactly the brief for an architect in 2020.
One may consider the timing of the sale of this home most appropriate. In the month of November when the Design Canberra Festival celebrates Canberra as a global city of design, understanding Bob’s design intent aptly conjures a deeper understanding of this very special MCM Aranda home.
.bespoke, architecturally designed one-of-a-kind home
.considered, modernist design with clean lines and flat roof
.designed on a grid system
.northern aspect to home
.original light fittings
.integrated timber joinery and detailing throughout
.timber lined ceiling
.exposed light sand/cement brick
.full length windows throughout
.lovely sunny lounge room with built-in storage
.formal dining room with dining table included
.updated kitchen with cork floor, plenty of bench and storage space, timber benchtops, Bosch oven, gas cooktop and dishwasher
.master bedroom off lounge room, with private ensuite
.separate living room with access to studio and built-in storage
.two additional bedrooms off living room, mirrored layout, both with built-in robes and desk
.flexible rumpus/fourth bedroom/studio with wood burning stove and access to garden
.beautiful, curated garden with established trees and lawn area
.covered atrium style garden with central treetrunk and grapevine canopy
.paved driveway with carport and garage
Land size:762m2 (approx.)
Living size: 174m2 (approx.)
Garage size: 26m2 (approx.)
Carport: 29m2 (approx.)
Land rates: $4,385.49 pa (approx.)
Land value: $613,000 (2020)
Year built: 1970 (approx.)
19 Mirning Crescent