Aaron Bolot

Aaron Bolot explored various Modernist styles from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Bolot’s education came, not from first hand encounters overseas with the great European designers and buildings, but study and practice in Australia. He emigrated with his family from the Crimea in 1911 as a boy and studied architecture at the Brisbane Central Technical College from 1919 to 1926, receiving the Queensland Institute of Architects Gold Medal for excellence.

Bolot moved to Sydney in the 1930s and worked with Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of the first plan for Canberra and houses at Castlecrag. Bolot designed several theatres and cinemas in New South Wales through the latter part of the decade but was known particularly for his modern flats. The ‘Ashdown’ in Elizabeth Bay was built in 1938 of reinforced concrete and painted ‘pure white’. His acclaimed ‘Wylde Street Cooperative Apartments’ in Rushcutters Bay, completed in 1951, featured a dramatic curved facade that was almost entirely glazed.

Bolot worked on commercial buildings, flats and houses in North Sydney from 1940 through to the 1960s. His largest residential block was the 12-storey ‘Quarterdeck Apartments’, built by Civil and Civic in Carabella Street, Kirribilli in 1960. Along with its contemporary 'Blues Point Tower', the block exemplifed the changing waterfront of North Sydney. Bolot's building also typified the new International Style of modernism in its apparently simple, unadorned form which clearly followed the function of maximising Harbour views. ‘Quarterdeck’s’ wide narrow ‘slab’ shape placed flats beside, rather than behind, each other.

‘Quarterdeck’ was one of the first high-rise blocks to line the east side of Kirribilli. The flats replaced large single-family dwellings built in the late 19th and early 20th century. And, like 'Blues Point Tower', the heritage impact of ‘Quarterdeck’ was profound. Its construction followed the destruction of one of Australia’s most significant Federation-era sites, ‘Miandetta’ – the late 19th century home of Australia's first Prime Minister Edmund Barton. Unfortunately, ‘Miandetta’ joined the list of North Sydney’s lost houses before any photographic record of the building was undertaken. 

The Australian Institute of Architects recognised Bolot's contribution to 'Multiple Housing' with the Aaron Bolot award, introduced in 2009.