Anatol Kagan: Modernist Architect

House at Caulfield by Anatol Kagan (1956)
(photograph by SImon Reeves, Built Heritage Pty Ltd)

When it comes to modernist architecture in Melbourne there are a number of names that spring to mind. And as much as I admire many of the homes designed by Boyd, Romberg, and McIntyre, its often the buildings designed by lesser known architects that leave me wanting to know more.

A longtime favorite of mine is a modernist house on Dandenong Rd, Caulfield (pictured above) which I used to walk past on my way to the train station. I have often wondered who designed it, what its interior looked like, and of course, what furniture would grace such a great looking home. On one occasion, when the owners were doing a spot of gardening, i seized the opportunity for a quick chat. I felt compelled to tell them just how much I liked the house and how I always looked forward to seeing it on my way to work. Naturally, they also shared my enthusiasm but alas my high praise was not enough to win a house tour.

A few days ago I discovered that the designer of this much admired home was architect Anatol Kagan who had arrived in Australia with his wife in 1939. Kagan took a design job with the Department of Works and Housing before establishing his own architectural practice in 1949. Along with countless residential properties, Kagan designed The Mount Scopus War Memorial College in Burwood and submitted an entry to the Sydney Opera House competition.

Sydney Opera House competition entry by Anatol Kagan
(source: Kagan family collection, Sydney)

To find out more about Anatol Kagan check out the web links and the video below.


One thought on “Anatol Kagan: Modernist Architect

  1. What a great house. It would bring a smile to my face too.
    I remember Modernist Australia doing a post on Anatol earlier in the year, but your post is interesting too Dean. Thanks.
    I really like his opera house entry.


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