Art Deco Melbourne: A Unique History, Increasingly Valuable Homes

Melbourne is well known as a city with some of the most impressive examples of Art Deco architecture the world has to offer.  The Art Deco society of New York even writes that Melbourne is one of the world’s great Art Deco cities, claiming that it is well worth the trip for lovers of Art Deco based in the Northern hemisphere. So how did Melbourne become an Art Deco great and why might your Art Deco home be an even more valuable gem than you imagine?

Well, the Art Deco scene came to the fore somewhat later in Melbourne than it did in other countries. In countries like the USA, it came out of a desire for progress in the 1920s (post WWI), but in Melbourne it thrived following a return to a healthy economy after a brief depression in the 1930s. The emergence of the popular Art Deco style was further propelled by societal changes associated with trade, aviation, radio and cinema as well as the advent of new technologies such as elevators to carry materials up into the sky. Indeed, many of the world’s most iconic Art Deco buildings are skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building in New York, however government restrictions in Melbourne prevented buildings from being built any higher than 132 feet at the time.

Melbourne’s most prominent Art Deco buildings sit in and around the CBD, like Alkira House (1936), The Myer Department Store (1934), the Manchester Unity Building (1932), Century Building (1939), Yule House (1932), Mitchell House (1937) and Newspaper House (1932), among others. These buildings, like all Art Deco art and architecture, are characterised by clean geometric lines. The style reflects a move away from traditional values and toward modernity, which means that Art Deco buildings are often imposing, designed to tower over us in urban centres and impart a sense of grandeur and futurism. In contrast, Art Deco homes are somewhat humbler, although they are built with the same Modernist principles in mind.

Art Deco houses are popular in particular in suburbs such as Camberwell, Brighton and Toorak. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an Art Deco home, you’ll know that it is characterised by gloriously high ceilings and fabulous decorative design that is unlike the ornate prettiness seen in earlier Victorian and Edwardian builds. A unique symbol of post war Melbourne, these homes are precious and valuable on today’s real estate market, especially if they are in good condition and encompass renovations that respect the original build. The Art Deco style is iconic and is increasingly appreciated by younger generations, so it is in your interest to preserve your Art Deco treasure. And preserving an Art Deco home means more than just respecting the (often heritage listed) façade but also the unique interiors, including decorative ceilings, polished floorboards, deep skirting boards, fireplaces with ornate mantels and their hallmarks of charming leadlight windows and doors.

Art Deco apartments too are impressively valuable and are prominent in St Kilda East, Elwood and South Yarra. Some real estate experts even go so far as to suggest that, on average, Art Deco apartments in Melbourne are worth significantly more per square metre than other more modern apartments because of their scarcity and size. This means that they hold onto a higher resale value and are generally seen as more valuable investments. In terms of liveability too they are especially appealing as they are built with significantly larger living spaces, making them generally more comfortable than most modern apartments, which, by contrast, are built with smaller living spaces and lower ceilings.

Art Deco homes merit consideration for investors and of course for those looking for a unique home with a special sense of liveability and charm. These homes have a considerable monetary value that is almost guaranteed to grow, but they also hold unique historical significance as remnants of post-war Melbourne. If you are buying or selling an Art Deco home, the Real Copy Right copywriters understand what makes that home special and can bring out the very best that your Art Deco heartwarmer has to offer when marketing your property. Our real estate copywriters have a keen eye for detail and a great understanding of Art Deco and other homes that are unique to the architectural periods that have helped make Melbourne the stunning city it is today.