Surf Coast Shire initiated the Surf Coast Places of Cultural Significance Study to help find out about the variety of places throughout the Shire that reflect important part of the Shire’s history and that are valued by local communities. Here is the entry referring to Qii House.
This splendid c1977 timber residence with its large fishbowl windows overlooking Louttit Bay, was constructed for Victor Darrell Wardell of Richmond. (Shire of Winchelsea RB 1974-76, Nos. 1541, 1620; 1979-80, No. 1666)
The designer of the cedar residence with its driveway winding through tall timber and tree ferns was the architect, Edgard Pirrotta of Melbourne. The builder was Warwick Yates of Lorne. (W. Yates, pers. comm.)
Pirrotta, who often works with Yates, has designed thirty or forty houses in the Lorne and Torquay areas. After the Ash Wednesday fires, he designed a number of new homes for district owners. One of his best-known local designs is that of the popular Lorne Leisure Centre. (Marc Pirrotta, pers. comm.)
Born in Egypt in 1944, Edgard Pirrotta is the son of an Italian father and a Greek-Italian mother. His father’s side of the family had been supporters of Garibaldi and had to flee to Egypt where the family remained for a century. In 1957, the Pirrottas left Egypt for Italy and then Lebanon, where Edgard’s father established businesses to design and manufacture furniture. In 1959, they returned to Milan.
In 1960, Edgard began his architectural training at a private academy, where he also studied mosaic, fresco painting and stained glass murals. In 1962, the family left for Australia to join some relatives. They lived in the Italian community at Coburg.
Edgard worked as an artist doing mosaic work for the well-known artist, Anne Graham. He later worked as a draughtsman for an engineering plant for a year. He was introduced to the architect, G. Stuart Warmington, and began working in his firm. Their works included the Sunshine Municipal Offices, and libraries, infant welfare centres, houses, motels and restoration work.
By 1965, Pirrotta had started his own design consultancy and then entered university. Perrotta graduated at Melbourne University Architecture School with first class honours in design and won several awards, scholarships, and the Tasmanian Timber Association House Competition in 1967. After the completion of his course, he joined the architectural firm, Meldrum and Partners, while retaining the right of private practice. He helped design such works as a proposed megacentre for Essendon Airport, high-rise buildings and multi-unit developments.
In 1972, Edgard Pirrotta won the R.A.I.A. Bronze Medal for his design of Fletcher House in Roslyn Street, Middle Brighton. This house is regarded as an early example of ‘Brutalist’ design, and provided a breakthrough solution to the design of a family residence on a typical suburban block. The house was a linear concrete block construction.
In 1973, Edgard joined the firm, Morris Pirrotta and Associates. The firm’s designs include the Broadmeadow Leisure Centre, large and small houses, low income housing for the Ministry of Housing, lodges at Falls Creek, office buildings and industrial projects.
Pirrotta has been active in the R.A.I.A. and was chairman or member of the juries that judged awards for his peers on several occasions in the 1970s and 1980s. (Sagazio 1990: 16-17)
This timber house is an interesting and unusual example of contemporary design. The house and garage are designed as a unified whole, combining simple geometric shapes into a dramatic, bold design. The use of unpainted, vertical timber boarding enables the house to blend into its forest setting. By contrast, the bold forms and large fishbowl windows are futuristic.
Statement of Cultural Significance
The house at 630 Mount Sabine Road is of local significance because of its architectural values. It is of high local significance for its contemporary Brutalist design (unusual within Lorne township) by the well-known Melbourne architect, Edgard Pirrotta. It is a fine example of the domestic work of Pirrotta who, from the early 1970s designed a number of houses in the Lorne and Torquay areas. It is characterised by Brutalist design qualities which were highly contemporary during the 1970s, including vertical timber boarding and geometric forms. (criterion F1) Significant elements include: the timber house and garage (including fabric associated with its original construction and design).
Marc Pirrotta, personal communication, 1999
Sagazio, E., Italian Craftsmanship and Building in Victoria, National Trust of Australia (Vic.), 1990
Shire of Winchelsea, Rate Books, Lorne Township
Yates, W., personal communication, 1999