“You really don’t have to compromise if you find a well-designed apartment.”

In 2021, renowned architect David Krantz and his wife Valerie, sold their family home in Nedlands and moved into an apartment at Erben’s Treehouse in Jolimont. We asked David and Valerie to share their experience of moving into an apartment, given that it’s an option many people in the western suburbs may consider.

The Krantz name is synonymous with apartment buildings in Perth, with many of the flats and units you see across Perth attributable to the innovative and functional architecture of Harold and David Krantz.

Harold Krantz (1906-1999) was a strong advocate for affordable but sturdy apartments and at one time was responsible for around 1,000 flats a year being built in Perth. It is estimated that from the 1930s to the 1960s, he was involved with more than 90% of Perth’s apartments. Recognition of this contribution has come from having an architectural award named in his honour – the Harold Krantz Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing.

His son, David Krantz, followed in his father’s footsteps and continued his legacy of building economical and functional apartments. David made his mark on the Perth landscape with the Mount Eliza Apartments on Mount Street in 1964, with its circular, finned design around a central core. This design signified a change in generation from Harold to David. It was considered controversial at the time but has since been identified as a nationally significant example of 20th century architecture.

Even though David worked for over 50 years designing apartment blocks, he had never lived in an apartment – until now. Several years ago, David and his wife Valerie, decided that the family home (which David designed over 20 years ago) on a quarter acre block in Nedlands was requiring too much upkeep.

“We needed to downsize,” says David. “We had quite a few stairs in our house which had been our family home for years, and as much as we loved the garden, it was just getting too big to look after. Our apartment now has some garden which is a great size, it’s all one level and we have the added bonus of the communal facilities we can use when we want.”

David and Valerie were initially looking at smaller blocks in the Shenton Park area but just couldn’t find the right thing. When they were out house hunting one day, they saw a crane from a distance and that led them to Treehouse Apartments in Jolimont.

“When we looked into Treehouse, we found this apartment which has the room to give us the two bedrooms and two studies we wanted. We are both fairly active and involved in things, so we wanted a study each. We struggled to find a home with decent sized bedrooms and living space without moving too far away from the Shenton Park/Claremont area, until we came across these apartments.”

As an expert in apartment design, there were several design features that struck David as being important and really added to the appeal of moving into Treehouse. He encourages others to look for the same if they are considering apartment living. “It was the size of the apartment and garden here that first appealed,” explained David, “but we were also really impressed with the high-quality finishes and thought that had gone into the design.” David details a number of features that make the design special, including clever building ventilation, the aspect affording different light in summer and winter, green design ensuring energy conservation, a connection to the outdoor surroundings made possible with high windows and the privacy when enjoying their outdoor space. “With the design of this apartment, we don’t feel like we have near neighbours. We have privacy and our own small garden, but we enjoy all the benefits that come from low maintenance, security, everything we need on our doorstep and these high windows that bring in the light. You really don’t have to compromise if you find a well-designed apartment.”

What did David and Valerie’s’ children think of them moving from the family home to an apartment? “Well, this location is more centrally located between all of our children than where we were before, so that’s a bonus,” says Valerie. “Our children weren’t sure it was going to work for us to begin with, but now they can see how happy we are and how well it works for our situation, they are happy we have made this choice.”

Erben’s Managing Director, Luke Reinecke, said David’s move to Treehouse was the biggest compliment that his company and architect MJA Studio could have received. “David is one of three architects living at Treehouse and there really is no higher praise than that. We really do take great pride in our developments and in building sophisticated apartments that feel like home, so it’s hugely rewarding to have recognition from these industry experts.”

“Like the Krantz family, Erben is also a strong believer of leaving a legacy and we believe that high-quality developments should continue to meet the lifestyle needs of those living in them for years to come,” said Mr Reinecke.

In response to the number of people in the same circumstances as David and Valerie in the western suburbs who are struggling to find the right option for their move out of the family home, Erben are commencing construction of a second apartment development in Jolimont – Florin Parkside. “Florin will offer large-sized apartments with the same level of beautiful design and finish as Treehouse,” explains Luke. “It is a great advantage that people will be able to view Treehouse to see the quality and experience of what living at Florin will feel like. As with Treehouse, there will be a range of apartment sizes and the views of nearby parkland will be maximised.”

David has retired from his architectural career, however to this day he is still working on designs for quality, affordable apartments. David’s passion is clearly in his blood and his apartments will remain part of Perth’s urban landscape for years to come.