Hidden from the bustle of Wylde Street is one of Australia’s most iconic examples of Continental Moderne architecture.

The secluded complex is called Wyldefel Gardens and despite its architectural reputation, it’s a well-kept local secret.

As a former resident of the building I’ve been tempted to maintain its reclusive reputation, but the history and features are too fascinating not to share.

Read on to find out what lies behind the leafy streetscape of 8A Wylde Street.

History

In 1923 a prominent art collector called William Crowle purchased a grand, late- 19th Century mansion called Wyldefel House. It was perched on a large block of land which sloped down to the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.

Crowle loved to travel and had an appreciation for the Art Deco architecture that was emerging from Europe during the Interwar Period. In the early 1930s he collaborated with architect John Brogan and together they designed what, at the time, was considered to be the most modern example of residential architecture in Australia.

In 1936, the Wyldefel Gardens apartments were completed on Crowle’s block of land. There was a garden between the two cascading rows of units so as not to obstruct the water views from Wyldefel House.

Architecture

Wyldefel Gardens is comprised of 20 stepped apartments that are arranged in a U-shape to enclose a central garden.

At the time of its construction the units also had a swimming pool, tennis courts and a boatshed, which housed Crowle’s yacht.

Crowle built himself a residence over the boatshed that he named “Once Upon a Time”. The house had built-in bookshelves to display his extensive book collection and niches were carved into walls in order to display his Lalique plaques from Paris, and other valuable pieces.

The Continental Moderne style that defines the architectural legacy of Wyldefel Gardens is due to the:

  • flat roof
  • expansive glazing
  • curved, bent glass windows
  • glass blocks
  • white, rendered walls

The Changes

In the 1940s the Navy proceeded with a reclamation project to build Garden Island, which obliterated the waterfront of Wyldefel Gardens. The complex also lost their tennis courts and swimming pools as part of this project.

Crowle was apparently overseas when he found out that his house an boatshed was in line to be demolished to make way for the Captain Cook Graving Dock. He cherished the property so much that he chose to relocate it. So in 1942 it was transported, brick-by-brick, on a barge to Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay. The manor is still there today and is also of heritage significance, despite being subdivided into three apartments.

In the 1960s, the original Wyldefel House on Wylde Street was also demolished and replaced with a block of units.

Today

The Australian Institute of Architects labelled Wyldefel Gardens as Nationally Significant 20th-Century Architecture and the units are highly prized and tightly-held due to a winning combination of factors.

They are located in the “Parisian End” of Potts Point and although they now lack a waterfront they are just moments away from the foreshore, as well as the buzz of the Potts Point shops, bars, restaurants and cafes.

While we all love the vibrancy of the area, it’s always nice to gain some respite. These homes are enveloped by lush greenery and six units are adorned with unique rooftop gardens. The block has a northerly aspect, and their well thought design lends them a house-like ambience – as there are no common walls between residences.

Recent sales

15/8A Wylde Street SOLD! – this spacious, house-like 3 bedroom apartment has 2 bathrooms, a lush leafy outlook, marble kitchen and a rare garage with storage.

If you’re interested in making Wyldefel Gardens your home, get in touch today.

Article by Jason Boon

In a real estate market that is the focus of Australian, and indeed worldwide attention, Jason Boon's results in the Sydney scene make him a highly significant figure within the industry. A long-term specialist in the Potts Point and inner eastern suburbs area, he is uniquely placed to leverage his skills and local knowledge as the area undergoes significant change and diversification. Jason ha…