DECISION OF THE HERITAGE COUNCIL

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‘Pole House’

60 Banool Road, Fairhaven


Heritage Council Registration Committee

Hearing


18 and 19 December 2012

Members


Mr Ken MacLeod (chair), Mr James Norris and Mr Robert Sands

DECISION OF THE HERI
TAGE COUNCIL

After considering a recommendation and the submissions
and conducting a hearing

into
those submissions, pursuant to Sec
tion 42(1
)
(d
)
(i) the Heritage Council has refu
sed to
register the place

and refers the recommendation and submissions to
the Surf Coast
Shire

for consideration for an amendment to the
Surf Coast Planning Scheme
.





Ken MacLeod

(Chair)


James N
orris


Robert Sands



Decision d
ate


20 December 2012

Reasons published


21

March

2013


2

March

2013

APPEARANCES

Executive Director, Heritage Victoria

Dr Kerry Jordan
, Heritage Officer (Architectural History)

appeared on behalf of the
Executive Director
.

Nominator

Mr Frank Dixon and the Dixon Family (‘the Dixons’) were represented by Ms Joanne
Lardner of counsel
.

Ms Lardner called Mr Simon Reeves (Built Heritage Pty Ltd),
Professor Philip Goad, Mr Nigel Lewis and Mr David Beauchamp as expert witnesses.

Owner
s

Mr Ray

and Mrs Kathi Adams (‘the Adams’) were represented by Mr Adrian Finanzio
of counsel
.

Mr Finanzio called Mr Peter Lovell (Lovell Chen Architects & Heritage
Consultants) and Mr Mark Hodkinson as expert witnesses.

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March

2013

INTRODUCTION
/BACKGROUND

The Place

1

The Place comprises one allotment located between the Great Ocean Road and
Banool Road in Fairhaven. The Place contains what is known as the ‘Pole House’,
a modestly
-
scaled hipped roof dwelling, elevated approximately 14.75 metres
above the ground on a sin
gle reinforced concrete cruciform column supporting a
tapered reinforced concrete slab 9.75 metres square. The ‘house
-
on
-
a
-
pole’
structure is connected to the top of the cliff by an elevated walkway formed by a
reinforced concrete Tee
-
beam built into the c
ruciform column.

2

The Pole House was designed from 1969
-
71 by Frank Dixon senior, an architect
and engineer, and constructed between 1973 and 1979.

Nominations

3

On 6 June 2012, Brian Dixon nominated the Pole House for inclusion in the
Victorian Heritage Regi
ster (‘the Register’)
.

Recommendation of the Executive Director

4

On 20 July 2012, the Executive Director recommended that the place not be
included in the Register and that the recommendation and submissions be referred
to the Surf Coast Shire for an amend
ment to the Surf Coast Planning Scheme
.

5

Submissions in support and objecting to the recommendation were received.
Pursuant to Section 40(2) of the
Heritage Act 1995
, a hearing was required to be
held.

The Registration Committee

6

The Registration Committee c
onsisted of
Mr Ken MacLeod, Mr James Norris and
Mr Robert Sands
. The Committee

was assisted at the hearing by Ms Marita Foley
of the Victorian Bar.

Site

Inspection

7

The Committee made a site inspection on 12 December 2012, accompanied by Ms
Foley and the He
arings Officer
.

Access was provided to the site by a
representative of Mr and Mrs Adams’ building contractor.

Preliminary Matters

8

As Mr Hodkinson’s evidence had been introduced by way of a submission in
reply, the Committee agreed to allow Mr Beauchamp the

opportunity to respond
in his verbal submissions. No objections to this approach were received from any
party.


ISSUES

9

This section is not intended to be a complete record of submissions that were
made to the Committee. It is a summary
of what the Committ
ee considers

to be
4

March

2013

the key issues, followed by an explanation of the position the Committee takes on
each issue.

10

Any reference to Criteria refers to the

Heritage Council Criteria for Assessment
of Places of Cultural Heritage Significance


(se
e Attachment
1 to this report). The
Committee acknowledges that it is possible for values to contribute to more than
one Criterion. The Committee has assigned submissions to the Criteria that it
believes to be relevant, as in some instances parties have addressed the s
ame
issue, but applied different criteria.

Summary of issues

11

The Dixons made submissions that the Pole House is worthy of inclusion in the
Register and has significant values against all of the Heritage Council’s criteria.
Similar views were held by each o
f the expert witnesses that they called.

12

The Executive Director and the Adams’ held that the place is not of cultural
heritage significance to the State of Victoria and does not satisfy any of the
Criteria. The expert witnesses called by the Adams’ were
also of the view that the
place is not of state significance.

Criterion A
-

Importance to the course, or pattern of Victoria’s cultural history

13

The parties disagreed on the importance of the Pole House to the course or pattern
of Victoria’s cultural
history, especially in relation to the 1983 Ash Wednesday
bushfires. The Executive Director did not consider this Criterion to be relevant.

Submissions and evidence

14

Mr Lovell submitted that a level of notoriety and debate locally about an unusual
structure

does not equate to historical significance. In his view, the Pole House’s
family associations, process of development, and notoriety are of varying degrees
of interest but none at such a level to suggest importance to the history of the
State.

15

Professor G
oad submitted that the Pole House is of historical significance as it is
one of only three buildings in Fairhaven that survived the 1983 Ash Wednesday
bushfires. In his view, the design of the place ensured its survival.

16

In Mr Lovell’s view, the fact that
the Pole House survived the Ash Wednesday
fires is of local significance. Mr Lovell also submitted that the Pole House’s
survival may have been a matter of luck and had little to do with its design.

17

Mr Beauchamp rejected this notion, arguing that the Pole

House’s thick windows,
lack of gutters and nailed
-
down tiles ensured a lack of entry points for embers and
sparks. However, he conceded that there is no evidence that these design features
were directed towards ember attack.

18

In Mr Reeves view, the place h
as some historical significance, but not at a state
level.

5

March

2013

Discussion and conclusion

19

The Committee finds that Criterion A is not satisfied and considers that the place
does not demonstrate importance to the course or pattern of Victoria’s cultural
history
sufficient to warrant inclusion in the Register.

20

The Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983 are considered by the Committee to have
been an important event in Victoria’s cultural history. The Pole House’s survival
may be of local significance but the Committee fi
nds that it does not meet the
threshold for state significance. All of the evidence presented to the Committee
suggested that the design was developed to cope with wind load. Its subsequent
performance during the Ash Wednesday bushfires appears to have bee
n
coincidental.

Criterion B
-

Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria
’s
cultural history

21

It was common ground between the parties that the Pole House is a rare example
of a dwelling on a single support in Victoria. The parties dispu
ted whether the
place’s rarity made it worthy of inclusion in the Register.

Submissions
and e
vidence

22

Mr Reeves and the Dixons submitted that the Pole House is a rare example of a
dwelling on a single support. Similarly, Professor Goad submitted that the Po
le
House is significant as the only known residence in Victoria designed as a
pavilion placed on a single cruciform column.

23

Mr Reeves and the Dixons submitted that there are relatively few examples of this
typology that can be identified. They put to the C
ommittee that the place is the
only known example of this type in Victoria and is also considered to be rare on a
national and international scale.

24

The Executive Director agreed that the place is a rare example of a dwelling on a
pole; however, she was of
the view that the ‘house on a pole’ movement is not an
important phase in Victoria’s cultural history. Mr Lovell agreed, submitting that
‘there is no question that the Pole House is a rare example of a residence
constructed on a concrete pole’; however, un
like the Murtoa Grain Store (H0791)
or the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct (H0895), this is not a place that is associated with
an important theme in the cultural history of the State.

25

Ms Lardner argued that the fact there are no other examples of such architecture
i
n Victoria does not reduce the Pole House’s significance. She pointed out that the
Register already includes a number of other ‘one offs’ such as Bears Castle
(H1420) and Bickleigh Vale (H2053). Mr Reeves used parabolic roof forms as a
comparative example.

He pointed out that they are rare in Victoria but a handful
are included in the Register, recognising their significant demonstration of the
influence of Modernism in Victoria.

Discussion and conclusion

26

Criterion B recognises places that possess

uncommon,

rare or endangered aspects
of Victoria
’s cultural history. To satisfy Criterion B, a place must have a clear
6

March

2013

association with an event or ph
ase of historical importance to
Victoria, and that
association must be evident in the fabric.

27

As Mr Finanzio put it
, ‘there is no dispute that the Pole House is interesting,
unusual


even rare’.

The parties agreed that the place is a rare, and in all
likelihood singular, example of a residence on a single support in Victoria.
However, this typology is not considered b
y the Committee to be part of an
important phase in Victoria’s cultural history and therefore, the Committee finds
that Criterion B is not satisfied.

Criterion D
-

Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class
of cult
ural places and
objects

28

This Criterion was only addressed by the Executive Director; however, the
Committee considers that submissions made by other parties under Criterion E are
relevant here. The parties disagreed about the place’s importance in demonstrating
the
principal characteristics of beach houses and dwellings on a single support.

Submissions
and e
vidence

Twentieth
-
century beach houses

29

Mr Reeves and the Dixons submitted that the beach house has been a strong and
recurring theme in coastal areas of Victoria.

The Dixons argued that the Pole
House is a unique example of a traditional coastal holiday house
.

Mr Reeves
submitted that the Pole House stands out as a ‘unique manifestation of a
traditional coastal holiday house’ that has been acknowledged in published

sources such as the
Herald Sun
and in a list of ‘top ten beach houses’ at
www.ninemsn.com
.

30

Mr Lewis submitted that the Pole House ‘fits into the oeuvre of unusual architect
-
designed beach houses from the post
-
1945 er
a’. He argued that the Pole House is
more dramatic than other examples built by architects for their own use and
represents a greater triumph over adversity. He also submitted that the place is
reputed to be one of Victoria’s most famous beach houses.

31

Prof
essor Goad submitted that the place is perhaps Victoria’s most extraordinary
example of do
-
it
-
yourself beach house architecture.

32

The Executive Director submitted that while the Pole House does have an
association with the beach house movement of the twenti
eth century, it is not
considered to be a particularly fine or representative example. Mr Lovell agreed,
submitting that there is no basis to elevate this place over other examples of beach
houses.

Dwellings on
a
single

support

33

In Mr Reeves’ view, the Pole

House is of architectural significance as an example
of a dwelling elevated on a single support. He put to the Committee that this was a
recurring theme internationally in twentieth
-
century architecture, noting that while
many houses of this type were pro
posed, very few were realised.

7

March

2013

34

Mr Reeves rejected the notion that the idea of a dwelling on a single support was a
minor or largely undeveloped theme in twentieth
-
century architecture. He held
that he had demonstrated that this theme, along with the pursui
t of the appearance
of weightlessness, was ‘a source of fascination for architects, architectural
students, engineers, builders, real estate developers and others over numerous
decades’. Further, he pointed out that the concept had been explored and realis
ed
by eminent modernist architects both internationally and in Australia.

35

Mr Reeves argued that as the only realised example of a dwelling on a single
support in Victoria, the Pole House is of state significance. He said that ‘it stands
out as a unique exp
ression of an unusual but recurring thread in the history of
modern architecture’. Mr Lewis concurred, arguing that experimental buildings
are an important subset of building design.

36

The Executive Director submitted that the Pole House is not architectural
ly
significant at a state level
.

She put that it is an unusual Victorian example of the
‘house on a pole’ phenomenon, a minor theme in architecture of the 1960s. In the
Executive Director’s view, the ‘house on a pole’ is not an architectural movement
of importance in Victoria’s history.

37

Mr Lovell submitted that the pole house typology was a brief episode in
architecture, and was not a mainstream idea. In his view, the Pole House is not
made significant by association with international examples. He pointed out that
the design has not led
anywhere;

that is, it is a singular instance and has not
inspired other developments.

Discussion and conclusion

38

The Committee finds that Criterion D is not satisfied.

39

The Committee considers that twentieth
-
century beach houses are an important
class of pla
ces. The Pole House demonstrates some of the important
characteristics of this class but it is not considered to be an important, fine or
representative example. The Committee did not place any weight on the evidence
that the Pole House has been included i
n a list of the ‘top ten beach houses’ and
finds that this ranking is related more to location and outlook than the quality of
the beach houses themselves.

40

In the Committee’s view, dwellings on a single support are not considered to be a
class of place tha
t is of importance in Victoria’s cultural history. Therefore, the
Pole House is not found by the Committee to be a place worthy of inclusion in the
register under this Criterion.

Criterion E
-

Importance in exhibiting parti
cular aesthetic characteristics

41

T
he parties agreed that the place has some aesthetic significance but disagreed on
the degree
.

Submissions
and e
vidence

42

The Dixons submitted that a simple house sitting atop a pole is a dramatic
aesthetic statement and that the aesthetic characteristics exh
ibited by the Pole
8

March

2013

House are valued by the community. They argued that the place needs heritage
protection to preserve its ability to demonstrate how two different ideas can be
combined in a dramatic way.

43

Mr Reeves argued that the place is of aesthetic sig
nificance for its highly unusual
form and appearance. He submitted that the deceptively simple form


a
conventional house elevated on a concrete pier


has highly distinctive aesthetic
characteristics. He described the house rising from scrubby hillside a
s a bold
sculptural element, and a unique and unexpected sight. Mr Reeves said the place
is also architecturally significant for its demonstration of an outstanding synthesis
between architecture and structural engineering.

44

Mr Lewis submitted that the Pole House has a monumental presence. He argued
that the design of the house relates directly to the formality of the concrete support
structure and bridge. In his view, the lightweight materials of the house
complement the conc
rete support and both parts are representative of the design
ethos of the 1960s and 70s.

45

Professor Goad submitted that although the house ‘has no orthodox stylistic
precedent’, he did not consider this to be an argument against significance. In his
view,
the significant elements are the aesthetic contrast between the pole and the
house and the subtle integration of the pyramidal house structure with the shallow
inverted pyramid of the top of the pole. Professor Goad considered that the Pole
House is analog
ous with international examples of dwellings on poles such as the
‘Dymaxion House’, John Lautner’s ‘Chemosphere’ and other 1970s examples
from the USA.

46

Mr Lovell submitted that the Pole House is a highly distinctive, landmark piece of
architecture in its c
ontext, but he noted that no party had argued that it is a
beautiful piece of architecture. In Mr Lovell’s view, the design is inelegant and
the pole and house components are an awkward juxtaposition. He conceded that
there is no principle that elements mu
st be merged for Criterion E to be satisfied;
however, he pointed out that most other places with recognised aesthetic values
present a more integrated appearance. He also rejected the idea that the contrast
between the forms is of aesthetic value.

47

Mr Love
ll noted that the primary focus when addressing the aesthetic qualities of
the Pole House have been on its dramatic and eye
-
catching qualities. However,
recognisability was not considered by Mr Lovell to equate to aesthetic
significance.

48

The Executive Dire
ctor disputed the claim that the place has a high degree of
aesthetic significance and was of the view that the place is of local aesthetic
significance at most. The Executive Director and Mr Lovell agreed that the place
could be considered an inappropriat
e intrusion in the now nationally heritage
-
listed Great Ocean Road.

49

Mr Reeves argued that even if the place is considered by some to be
unsympathetic to its environment, this does not diminish its architectural
significance. He submitted that negative aest
hetic qualities can have value and
9

March

2013

pointed out that other places included in the Register were considered to be
eyesores at the time of their construction.

50

The Executive Director and Mr Lovell submitted that although the Pole House’s
aesthetic values have

been recognised in several blogs and on social media,
comments have not always been positive.

51

The Executive Director submitted that the aesthetic values of the Pole House have
not been accepted by the wider community and nor has the place received critica
l
acclaim by the architectural or arts community. Mr Lovell noted that while the
place is well known, it has never been identified as a high quality design or as a
building of architectural merit. Mr Lovell conceded that some places in the
Register, includ
ing some postwar places, do not have recognised architectural
merit. However, in his view, to satisfy this Criterion there must at least be a
positive response to the aesthetic values.

52

Both Mr Reeves and Professor Goad submitted that the interior is of aes
thetic
significance. Mr Reeves said it is of contributory significance and Professor Goad
was of the view that the interior is an exemplar of do
-
it
-
yourself and is significant
as it demonstrates this aspect of the place’s construction. Ultimately, the Dixo
ns
conceded that they did not consider the interior of the place to have a high degree
of importance aesthetically.

Discussion and conclusion

53

The Committee finds that Criterion E is not satisfied. The Committee concurs
with Mr Lovell that the Pole House is

a highly distinctive, landmark piece of
architecture that could be considered to be iconic. However, in the Committee’s
view, the place does not have significant aesthetic values. The Pole House is not
considered to be an integrated engineering and archit
ectural solution; nor does it
integrate with its environment.

54

All parties agreed that the design of the Pole House was and remains
controversial. It has inspired both praise and criticism from members of the public


more recently expressed in blogs and/or

through social media. While the design
of the Pole House has attracted some comment, the Committee notes the lack of
any broader public recognition of the place’s aesthetic qualities and also the lack
of recognition by the architectural and arts communiti
es. The Committee takes
particular note that there has been no critical discussion of the Pole House in any
mainstream architectural publication.

Criterion F
-

Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical
achievement at a particular p
eriod

55

The parties disagreed about the importance of any technical achievement
demonstrated by the design or construction of the Pole House
.

Submissions
and e
vidence

56

The Dixons submitted that ‘the Pole House is clearly an example of architecture
which demon
strates a high degree of creative and technical achievement’.

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March

2013

57

Heritage engineering expert David Beauchamp argued that Criterion F was
satisfied as the place demonstrates the outstanding creative adaptation of available
materials using the technology of the

period. In his view, the Pole House is of
significance for the following reasons:



the engineering component is readily appreciated (unusual for
engineering structures) and an elegant solution to a difficult site;



the design has withstood 30 years of expos
ure to extreme weather
conditions, including the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire, and many of
the design features predate the Australian Standard ‘AS3959
-
1991
Construction of buildings of bushfire prone areas’;



the foundations are probably the first in the Fai
rhaven/Eastern View Hill
area to be capable of resisting potentially unstable conditions; and



the designer, Frank Dixon, is a person of high repute in the engineering
and architectural profession.

58

Under cross
-
examination, Mr Beauchamp conceded that the pla
ce does not exhibit
evidence of a technical breakthrough but was a significant achievement by
someone building part time on a steep and difficult site. He argued that standard
elements have been put together in a ‘technically skilled’ manner but conceded
t
hat ‘building properly’ is not a basis for inclusion in the Register. Mr Beauchamp
also conceded that there is no evidence the place informed AS3959
-
1991 or
influenced the design of any other beach houses along the coast.

59

Mr Reeves submitted that although
he did not believe there to be anything
particularly innovative about the structural engineering employed at the Pole
House, the place satisfies Criterion F as a tangible manifestation of an unusual
typology


a dwelling on a single support
-

never before
seen in Victoria and rare
in the world at the time.

60

Mr Reeves went further, submitting that the Pole House must be considered ‘one
of the most extraordinary and unique achievements in private home building ever
witnessed in Victoria’. Mr Lewis concurred, s
aying that ‘the Pole House is one of
the most remarkable examples of risk
-
taking by an architect
-
owner’ and that this
was a remarkable creative achievement.

61

In the Executive Director’s view, the place is of local technical significance as an
example of a s
olution to the difficulties posed by a steep site. The Executive
Director submitted that to be of technical significance at a state level, a place
should demonstrate a major technological advance
.

She argued that an advance of
this kind was not demonstrate
d by the Pole House
-

the design of the pole was not
particularly innovative or complex, neither could it be called progressive or
influential. Dr Jordan also pointed out that the place has not been the subject of
critical acclaim from the architectural or

engineering professions.

62

According to the Executive Director, ‘an elegant design solution’ or a well
-
designed structure does not necessarily warrant inclusion in the Register. She
rejected the notion that a structure could be labelled ‘exceptional’ after
having
withstood only a few decades of exposure to the elements. The Executive Director
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March

2013

submitted that surviving the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires is not such an
exceptional achievement as to warrant inclusion in the Register. Nor did the
Executive Director

consider it to be significant that the engineering component is
visible.

63

Mr Lovell submitted that, while the design was tailored to the site, there is no
evidence that the structural engineering solution was innovative. In his view, the
construction metho
ds were also conventional.

64

Mr Lovell rejected the notion that this place should be elevated over other owner

builder projects for its purported complexity or difficulty. He held that there is no
evidence that this project was anything out of the ordinary
in terms of beach house
builds and to satisfy this Criterion, the place ought to have inspired others.

65

The Executive Director and Mr Lovell pointed out that Mr Dixon himself, in
Rohan Storey’s history of the place, admitted that the design and construction

was
not difficult.

66

Engineering expert Mark Hodkinson was of the view that the place does not reach
the threshold for significance in terms of technical achievement. Mr Hodkinson
submitted that the design of the individual components of the Pole House was
essentially ‘textbook’ and the construction was conventional. He noted that there
are many structures where the engineering component can be readily observed,
such as transmission towers, tanks and timber pole houses.

67

Mr Beauchamp responded that the design

of the column was not strictly textbook,
as the structural engineering manual from 1976 only has designs for rectangular
columns. Mr Hodkinson conceded that the column exhibits an eloquent and
minimalist concrete design and that it is not insignificant th
at the services are
concealed.

Discussion and conclusion

68

The Committee finds that Criterion F is not satisfied. The Committee accepts
submissions that the design and construction of the Pole House were well
executed
-

a reflection of Frank Dixon’s skill an
d experience
.

69

In the Committee’s view, the Pole House used standard engineering components
in an unusual way to respond to extraordinary site conditions. However, no
convincing evidence was presented to the Committee that the design or
construction require
d significant creative adaptation, nor was there any evidence
of critical acclaim from a relevant discipline. Therefore, the place is not
considered to demonstrate a significant creative or technical achievement at a
sufficient level to satisfy the Criteri
on.

Criterion G
-

Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural
group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This includes the significance of a
place to Indigenous peoples as part of their continuing and developing cultural
tra
ditions

70

The parties disagreed about the social significance of the place
.

12

March

2013

Submissions
and e
vidence

71

The Dixons submitted that the place has a clear association with the Fairhaven
community. They also pointed out that it is an eye
-
catching, traffic
-
stopping
landmark along one of Victoria’s best
-
known coastal roadways and said to be the
most photographed house in Victoria.

72

In Mr Reeves’ view, the Pole House is of social significance as it has been
‘cherished and fondly recalled’ by successive generations of Vi
ctorians and is a
source of ‘delight and fascination’ for numerous visitors from interstate and
overseas. He argued that the Pole House has social significance as one of the best
known and fondly remembered private houses in Victoria. However, Mr Reeves
co
nceded that not all landmarks belong on the Register.

73

Mr Lewis argued that the place forms part of the consciousness of most people
who have travelled down the Great Ocean Road since 1976. He submitted that it
has the same ‘special meaning’ as the entrance

to Luna Park (H0938).

74

Professor Goad submitted that the place has social significance as a major
architectural and engineering landmark illustrated by attention in popular media.

75

The Executive Director agreed that the Place is a local landmark and much
ph
otographed, but was of the view that this does not necessarily make it of social
significance for Victorians.

76

In Mr Lovell’s view, social value is typically identified by attachment to a place,
not through popular recognition, notoriety or landmark qualiti
es. He considered
that as a private residence, it is unlikely that many people have experienced the
Pole House at close quarters.

77

Under cross
-
examination by Ms Lardner, Mr Lovell agreed that several well
-
known places included in the Register could be considered ‘iconic’, for example,
the Nylex Sign (H2049), ‘Aqua Profonda’ Sign, Fitzroy Pool (H1687) and
Chateau Tahbilk (H0296). He co
nceded that popular recognition may have been
considered to be an indicator of social value in the case of the Nylex Sign, Aqua
Profonda Sign and Skipping Girl Neon Sign (H2083).

78

Ms Lardner submitted that Chris Johnston’s publication ‘What is social value
?’,
mentioned in Mr Lovell’s submission, cannot be relied

upon as it is now twenty
years

old and does not take into account the attachment demonstrated by online
communities.

Discussion and conclusion

79

The Committee finds that Criterion G is not satisfied.
Social value is typically
identified by attachment to a place, not just by popular recognition. In the
Committee’s view, the community’s response to the Pole House reflects its
juxtaposition with the landscape, unusual appearance and landmark qualities.
Ho
wever, it does not demonstrate a sufficiently strong attachment to the place to
satisfy this Criterion.

13

March

2013

80

In reaching this conclusion, the Committee notes that more work needs to be done
to explore the relationship between social media commentary and ‘signif
icance’
as it is understood within the context of the Criteria.

Criterion H
-

Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of
persons, of importance in Victoria’s history

81

The parties agreed that Frank Dixon had a special association wit
h the place but
disagreed on whether he is a person of importance in Victoria’s history
.
The
Executive Director did not consider this Criterion to be relevant.

Submissions
and e
vidence

82

Professor Goad submitted that the Pole House is significant as one of t
he best
known examples of the work of engineer/architect Frank Dixon. In his view, Mr
Dixon was unusual amongst his peers for combining both disciplines.

83

Mr Lovell submitted that Frank Dixon is a respected engineer and architect, but is
not considered to b
e a person of importance in the history of Victoria.

Discussion and conclusion

84

The Committee finds that Criterion H is not satisfied. Frank Dixon is a respected
and well regarded professional, but the Committee does not believe that he can be
regarded as h
aving made a notable or influential contribution to Victoria’s history
.


CONCLUSION

85

The Committee finds that the Pole House does not reach the threshold for State
significance in relation to any of the Heritage Council’s
C
riteria for inclusion in
the Victorian Heritage Register
and refers the recommendation and submissions to
the Surf Coast Shire for consideration for an amendment to the Surf Coast
Planning Scheme
.



14

March

2013


ATTACHMENT 1


HERITAGE COUNCIL CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT
OF PLACES OF
CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGIFICANCE





CRITERION A

Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural
history
.


CRITERION B

Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of
Victoria’s cultural history.


CRITERION C

Potential to

yield information that will contribute to an
understanding of Victoria’s cultural history
.


CRITERION D

Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a
class of cultural places or
objects.


CRITERION E

Importance in exhibiting partic
ular aesthetic characteristics.


CRITERION F

Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or
technical achi
evement at a particular period.


CRITERION G

Strong or special association with a particular community or
cultural group for social, cul
tural or spiritual reasons. This
includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as
part of their continuing and
developing cultural traditions.


CRITERION H

Special association with the life or works of a person, or group
of persons, of impor
tance in Victoria
’s history.




These were adopted by the Heritage Council at its meeting on 7 August 2008, and replace the
previous criteria adopted by the Heritage Council on 6 March 1997.



15

March

2013



ATTACHMENT 2


Statement of Significance

The Pole House at Fairhaven is a house built in 1976
-
78 on a square platform supported on a
14
12.84

metre high
column
pole
, with spectacular views of the coast along the northern part of
the Great Ocean Road.

The house, designed
by
in

1969
-
1970
, was the insp
iration of the respected Melbourne engineer
and architect Frank Dixon, who saw it as a means of solving the problems of building on a steep
unstable slope and of obtaining uninterrupted coastal views. It was built as the Dixon family
holiday house, with ex
tra accommodation provided in a bunkhouse located on a levelled site
near the road with access between them across an elevated walkway. The house survived the
Ash Wednesday bushfires with minimal damage but the bunkhouse was destroyed and later
rebuilt.

T
he Pole House consists of a
tapered reinforced concrete slab, 690 millimetres thick on a

14
12.84

metre high reinforced concrete
column
pole
, cruciform in section,
set on

with

a
4.1
5

metre
square 760 millimetre thick reinforced concrete pile cap

base

supported on nine
proprietary
with

concrete piles driven 8
.5

metres into the ground. The concrete platform at the
top is 9.
7
5 metres square and supports a house
7.93
8

metres square, which is about 40 metre
s
above sea level. The elevated walkway leading to t
he pole house is
21
23.17

metres long and is
supported by a smaller
reinforced concrete column located at 6.4 metres from the walkway
abutment
pylon
. The house is a single storey timber
-
framed house with a solid brick core,
external walls clad with treated p
ine and a pyramidal tiled roof. It is surrounded by a walkway
with a balustrade of plate glass with a thick timber handrail fixed to stainless steel supports.

The Pole House at Fairhaven is of local scientific (technical) significance as a solution to the

problem of building on a difficult site, using a reinforced concrete
column
pole

with piles driven
deep into the ground to support a concrete platform with a house above.

The Pole House has local architectural significance as an example of the building on
a pole
typology, an unusual theme in architecture which reached its peak during the 1960s.

The Pole House at Fairhaven is of local aesthetic significance as a dominant and unusual
feature in the landscape along the Great Ocean Road. It has been included i
n lists of Victoria's
top beach houses for its spectacular location and
views.