‘The Gaudi of Perth’ – A Look at Some Of Iwan Iwanoff’s Masterpieces

When Iwan Iwanoff landed on the shores of Fremantle in 1950, he brought with him brutalist-inspired and mid-century design excellence.

Iwanoff, who was born in Bulgaria in 1919 and studied architecture in Europe before coming to Australia as a refugee in 1950, developed his own practice in the mid-1960s and started designing some of WA’s most recognisable and captivating homes.

He has since become WA’s best-known architect, with his homes adored by many, gaining a strong cult following.

Here is a look at a few of his standout designs.

Marsala House

The property is really one-of-a-kind, with groovy overtones hidden behind its brutalist fa├žade.

The home is best known for its infamous disco room, which doesn’t disappoint, it features an outrageously lavish light-up checkerboard disco stage with a DJ booth, lounge, mid-century Venetian chandelier, crocodile look wallpaper and a built-in sound system. It feels more like a scene from Saturday Night Fever than an entertaining room in Dianella.

The brutalist design is awe-inspiring and ostentatious, demanding attention and admiration when glanced upon, it is truly unique in the Perth landscape.

The house is the newest addition to the State Register of Heritage Places and despite the respect for Iwanoff’s work, it is his only design to be included on the register.

Tomich House

Tomich House has a sense of verticality that many other Iwanoff designs do not enjoy.

Originally intended for the Tomich’s in 1968 and finished in 1971, the next owner commissioned Iwanoff in the late 1970s, with additional extensions and interior refurbishments carried out in 1985, enlarged the house to include the original footprint.

Built in a distinctive style, this is recognisable immediately as an Iwanoff, with a warm and decorative use of concrete blocks and impressive detailing to create an awe-inspiring vista.

Schmidt-Lademann House

With a careful and considerate blend of textures, natural qualities and shape, this home exudes a dignified sense of charm that has become a crowd favourite.

This spectacular house is well renowned for its high skillion roof, Maple and Blackbutt cabinets, beautiful wood-framed windows and granite piled walls.

The four-bedroom and 2.5 bathroom home is set upon on a magnificent 906 sqm private property with a view over ‘Roscommon Reserve and was built for the German consul in 1959.

Golowin House

Golowin House was created for Mr W. Golowin and his family and is rich with history and personality with a stunning mid-century design and skillion roof, a favourite of the designer.

His construction business, the Golowin Bros, was regarded for being a high-quality builder and, oddly enough, Iwanoff’s favoured contractor. The Golowins were known for organising theatrical and musical events at their home, and the third bedroom was known for card games and housing the wine cellar.

Iwanoff’s concept was to connect the interiors with the outside by employing vast expanses of glass and maximising the utilisation of natural light and cross-flow air. Natural materials such as Wandoo and Blackbutt wood, large-scale granite, burnished copper, and concrete, common features of an Iwanoff home, were used extensively in the design.

Featherby House

Abstract and expressionistic, this split-level family abode, completed in 1970, was intended to take advantage of the panoramic vistas of Lake Karrinyup Country Club and features Iwanoff’s trademark use of concrete blocks and intricately patterned surfaces.

It has a sunken sitting area with a feature fireplace, a balcony, and a swimming pool, and is a great example of 1970s architecture. Since then, the home has been refurbished.

Toschkoff House

The stone and brick house was Rita Toschkoff’s residence, who counted Iwanoff as a friend of the family.

It has a mixture of stone, glass, concrete and wood, and a north-facing backyard on a block of 857 square feet, a classic Iwanoff design.

The minimalist style features the use of stone, wood, glass and cement to express Iwan’s own style and eternal attraction to modern design in the middle of the century.

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