River House Photo

Kyla Brettle speaks with prominent architect Peter McIntyre about River House, the home he built for himself and his young bride Dione at the age of twenty-four.

Built in 1955, the house is an excellent example of the idealism and experimentation that characterised some of the best architecture during the post-war period.

Located in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, the house is situated on a densely forested block between a steep incline on a bend in the Yarra River. The central structure in the house is a large, steel, triangular frame that is exposed both internally and externally. Branching out from the central frame are two 40-foot cantilevers with a deck at each end. A spiral staircase curls up the center, connecting the three levels of the house. Inside is painted in bright primary colours.

Originally bright hues adorned the outside as well, inspiring one commentator to describe it as like a Paul Klee butterfly.

Duration: 15:00


Peter McIntyre, Kyla Brettle.


Produced, recorded and edited by Kyla Brettle. Executive Producer Mark Wakely.

© ABC and Kyla Brettle 2006

A warm thank you to Debra McCoy, Duncan Yardley and John Diver

First broadcast on ABC Radio National's By Design, September 23, 2006.

Subsequent broadcasts:

  • ABC Radio National's By Design Saturday 30 December, 2006.