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Geoffrey Harley Mewton

Geoffrey Harley Mewton
Born (1905-01-21)21 January 1905
Brighton, Melbourne, Australia
Died March 1998
Fulham, London, England
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Elma Ellen Mewton
Parent(s) William Arthur Mewton
Violet Ratcliff Ford

Geoffrey Harley Mewton (1905-1998) was an Australian architect and leading proponent of modern architecture in Melbourne during the 1930s. Mewton’s home at 207 Bluff Road, Sandringham was designed and built in 1938 stands as an example of his progressive modern residential architectural work, a first for Melbourne. He is best known for the Woy Woy flats at Elwood designed in partnership with Roy Grounds, considered to be the first modern block of flats in Melbourne.

Geoffrey Mewton was the youngest child of William Arthur Mewton and Violet May Ratcliff Ford (1868-1953). His siblings were Beryl Harley Mewton (1898-1982) and Roydon Harley Mewton (1900-1964).Born on the 21st of January 1905 in Brighton, Melbourne, Mewton was educated at Wesley College, Melbourne. Mewton married Elma Ellen Gotz and lived in Sandringham for 20 years. They had a child Noelle Margret Mewton. Mewton died in London, England in March 1998 aged 93.

Mewton began his architectural career in 1923, working at the Blackett, Foster & Craig office while studying at night at the Working Men’s College (later to be known as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, RMIT). Throughout 1926 to 1928 Mewton attended night classes at the Melbourne University Architectural Atelier (MUAA). After graduating from MUAA on the 27th of August 1928 Mewton travelled to London with Roy Grounds and Oscar Bayne, colleagues at the University Atelier. Here Grounds, Mewton and Bayne lived together in rented accommodation in London.

During his time in London, Mewton worked for Adems Holden & Pearson, the firm is known for the design of the modernist brick and concrete suburban London Underground railway stations.

In 1929 after travelling to New York Mewton started working in the Van Alen office. At the time the firm was in the completion stage of the Chrysler buildings.

At the age of 25 on the 20th of October 1930 Mewton returned to London to sit his Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) examinations and took the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.

On returning home to Melbourne, Australia on the 13th September 1932, Mewton set up his own office. A year later Roy Grounds returned to Melbourne and the pair formed the office Mewton & Grounds. Together they were subsequently responsible for the design of several buildings that introduced modernism to Melbourne. Their partnership was informal and each worked individually, collecting their own profits. Quickly the pair became acknowledged as the protagonists of modernism in Melbourne.

  • Woy Woy is the earliest of a small group of multi-storied modernist flats in Elwood, it is also the earliest of its kind in Melbourne. Built in 1925-1936 the flats were designed by Mewton&Grounds. Woy Woy is located at 77 Marine Parade, Elwood, Victoria, Australia. The design of the apartment block is extremely minimal. The interlocking cubic forms in the design reveal an interest in architect Willem Dudok.
  • 207 Bluff Road, Sandringham, Victoria, Australia, is a single-storeyed clinker brick house. It exhibits terracotta tiles a gabled roof and timber window frames have been painted white. Mewton designed this home for his own residence in 1938. Within the inner city of Melbourne, Australia this house is a rare example of modern architecture during the 1930s in Melbourne. The home has been defined as the modern ‘bush house’. Robin Boyd described the house "as a wise house that knows not to be jealous of the garden."
  • The Watt House, Toorak VIC (1934)
  • The George Stooke House, Brighton VIC (1934)
  • Ranelagh, 35 Rannoch Avenue, Mt Eliza VIC (1934–35)
  • Woy Woy flats, Elwood VIC (1935)
  • The Ingspen House, Geelong VIC (1935)
  • Evan Price House, 2 Riverview Road, Essendon VIC (1935–36)
  • The Fairbairn House, Toorak VIC (1935–36)
  • 8 North Road, Brighton VIC (1936)
  • The Bel-Air Flats, 3 Cowderoy Street, St Kilda VIC (1936)
  • 156 Church Street, Brighton VIC (1938)
  • 207 Bluff Road, Sandringham VIC (1938)
  • 21 Summerhill Road, Beaumaris VIC (1950)
  • In 1935 The Stooke House was recognized by RVIA


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