After 61 years, modernist architect Peter McIntyre returns for first time to prized Beaumaris design

Sixty one years — or 22,265 days — flew off the calendar when Peter McIntyre walked back in the front door of a Beaumaris house he designed and had last visited in, he reckons, 1956.

Greeted by John and Sue, the children of the Grant family who had commissioned one of Melbourne’s radical young modernist architects to plan a two bedroom house in the sandy heathland of a new suburb, they immediately wanted to talk to him about the colour scheme they grew up with in the house with curving roof volumes and exposed wooden trusses.


Peter McIntyre, architectural crusader, bemoans those 'disastrous' McMansions

.If architecture is the art of conjuring grand visions, it is perhaps unsurprising that Peter McIntyre should hatch an ambitious plan for how our lunch date might unfold. It begins with a tour of his groundbreaking "Butterfly House", which sent shockwaves through a conservative Melbourne in the 1950s, and includes a rowboat across the Yarra to an eatery on the opposite bank. The eminent 89-year-old architect isn't about to let winter get in the way of a good idea, just as, 70 years ago, he wasn't about to let his father dissuade him from buying an impossibly steep slice of Kew riverfront on which to build a dream.
"I was a romantic young student," he says. "I decided I had to have it."


Get to know Peter McIntyre, 70 years as an architect and still at the drawing board

Peter McIntyre AO began working in his father's architecture practice as an office boy at the age of seven. Today, the business is still very much a family affair, and McIntyre can look back at a long and successful career, studded with prestigious awards.

Peter McIntyre AO's career as an architect spans 70 years. Starting in his father's architecture office at the age of only seven, McIntyre today looks back on a career of huge successes, a broad portfolio of work, close family collaboration, and influence.

He spoke to SCHWARTZWILLIAMS a few days ago.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

Designing buildings… all types, from hospitals to resorts, and, of course, private homes. Our clients are drawn to us because we are known to specialise in design.

I have one foot in the grave, the other’s on a banana skin, but my hand’s still firmly on the drawing board.