Warilla 'spaceship' house won't take off just yet

By Alex Arnold
Updated November 5 2012 - 12:55pm, first published February 1 2010 - 11:20pm
A rare Safari model project home in Little Lake Cres has raised new interest since an application to demolish it was submitted to council.
This 1960s home at Warilla has a stay of execution through an interim heritage order, until a full heritage value assessment is completed.

To some it is an ugly piece of concrete blocking the potential of a prime piece of Illawarra real estate.To others it is a treasure that is an extraordinary example of architecture from days gone by.Either way, the well-known "spaceship" house, in Little Lake Cres, Warilla, will remain on its beachfront location - at least for the short term - with Shellharbour City Council administrator David Jesson placing an interim heritage order on the building.

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  • Demolition debate over Warilla beach houseLast year Shellharbour council received an application to demolish the house and replace it with a new two-storey residence.Believed to have been built in 1964, it is based on a rare project home design called Safari.The Safari model was designed by Nino Sydney, a one-time chief architect with Lend Lease Homes.The demolition proposal has attracted strong opposition from the National Trust, as it campaigns to have more examples of significant architecture from the second half of the 20th century preserved.The applicants had argued the house was no longer in good condition and was potentially affected by concrete cancer.Last night Mr Jesson said he had looked at the house and, while not an expert on these matters, felt there was a case for an interim heritage order.The order means the applicants will be required to submit further studies, including a structural heritage assessment, with the DA now on hold until the full assessment is complete.In a report presented to the council last night, staff said the house had been identified in the 2004 Shellharbour community-based heritage study, but the Department of Planning had ordered the council to include the study in the Shellharbour Local Environmental Plan, which is yet to be exhibited."Due to the time lapse between the completion of the draft heritage study and the exhibition of the comprehensive LEP, the property has not been formally recognised as having heritage significance," senior strategic planner Cheryl Lappin wrote."The lodgement of the DA for demolition now places the building in threat prior to an adequate heritage assessment." Ms Lappin added that the house was an example of building form that not only was rare at the time it was built in 1964 but is rare today."Lodgement of a DA to demolish has brought forward the need to determine and finalise the heritage significance of the building," she said. The order would not sterilise the land from future change, nor result in the building becoming "a museum". "It is solely to enable further investigation to be undertaken."
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