This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol5", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
(Contributed by R. J. Haddon, F.R.V.I.A., F.S.A.I.A.)
The average character of the Australian cottage differs somewhat markedly from that of England. The English preference for a two-storey treatment, even with the smallest accommodation, is laid aside before the Australian preference for one-floor treatment.
The three plans given in Fig. 179 are of cottages that have been built upon limited allotments of land, and show the generally differing treatment.
A. Is a timber cottage of the simpler type much seen in the suburbs of cities and large towns with ordinary
"cottage fronts." A centre passage leads directly into kitchen, and through scullery to garden. Height of ceilings 11 feet, with internal plastered walls and iron roof. The treatment is one-storey, permitting the passages to be top lighted.
B. Is a seaside cottage, also of wood, showing a simple and direct plan in compact form, of one storey only.
C. A more original plan without passages, built of brick, with American slate roof and 10 feet ceilings, and having the joinery finishings of Queensland pine. A second storey contains two attic rooms.
The detached Australian cottages, designed by Mr. W. A. M. Blackett, F.R.V.I.A., and illustrated in Fig. 180, show a compact treatment of plan to meet a peculiar situation, light being impossible from the outside boundaries of site.
The five rooms are well grouped and lighted in each case, with red brick and rough-cast treatment of fronts, - the plan having considerable resemblance to some which have already appeared in Volume II. when considering the planning of English cottages.
In Australia the villa type of building has found strong demand, and the phenomenal growth of the suburbs of the larger towns has led to the erection of vast numbers of one-storey houses. The terrace house that in the earlier days met with more public favour has decreased before the keen demand for detached residences surrounded with garden land.
Australians as a people have a strong liking for the one-storey residence, and houses costing as much as £5000 are often planned on one floor.
In the plans here illustrated we have in the house at Toorak, Victoria (see Fig. 182), of which Messrs. Godfrey & Spowers are the architects, a villa of this class, with generous main apartments having 15 feet high ceilings, with verandahs along the north and east (the sunny) elevations; the "sitting out" on the verandah being quite a considerable part of Australian home life, especially during the hot summer months. This type of planning leads naturally to the general division of the house broadly into wings as here shown, such as the main wing containing a large cool hall serving the principal rooms; the bedroom wing for the family and visitors, with adjuncts of baths, etc.; the kitchen and servants' wing, a complete establishment, with bed and bathrooms; and a detached building for laundry, dairy, etc. This is an interesting extension of the system of departmentalising as found in the larger English houses (see Vol. I.). The opportunity for the top lighting of passages, which the single-storey plan affords, is largely taken advantage of.
A villa plan of a smaller type is shown in Fig. 183, of which Messrs. Oakden & Ballantyne are the architects. This villa gives well thought out accommodation, and is so broken up as to induce general picturesqueness of mass.
In the small villa near Melbourne, designed by Mr. G. B. Leith (see Fig. 181), we have a compact little building for a small family, in which use has been made of the steep tile-covered roof to introduce some attic rooms.
The bungalow shown in Fig. 184, and designed by Mr. R. S. Dodds, A.R.I.B.A., illustrates the type of planning required in the sub-tropical climate of Brisbane, where the native woods are very largely used for domestic building.
Queensland is altogether very rich in beautiful timbers, and the market is well supplied with woods both for structural and ornamental purposes, which enter largely into domestic building in the State.
The conditions of Brisbane are such that open varandahs and open doors to catch the sea breezes are an absolute necessity for many months of the year, and these requirements have been worked into this plan, which makes full provision for open-air life shaded from the fierce heat of the sun.
The building is supported on hard-wood blocks, sunk into the ground and capped with inverted galvanised iron plates to prevent the destructive inroads of white ants into the structure. The walls are framed of hard wood and covered externally with hard-wood weatherboards, left virgin to weather a silver grey. The verandahs are enclosed with a wooden railing 3 feet high, and have the upper portions filled in with vertical wooden louvres working on steel pins. These are about 4 inches by 1/2 inch, and when closed completely exclude the glare of the summer sun. The roof is double, having a wood lined ventilated space under the galvanised iron covering. The internal walls are mostly of native wood panelling stained and wax polished, the floors being of hard wood.
The beautiful semi-tropical foliage of Queensland makes an admirable setting for the houses of this part of Australia.
A general plan (Fig. 185) and perspective view (Fig. 186) is given of a carefully considered residence situated on the picturesque heights of Strathfield, near Sydney, designed by G. Sydney Jones, A.R.I.B.A., showing an admirable system of arranging the garden and the surroundings at the same time as the house, thus securing harmony of the whole. In the planning some attempt has been made to avoid the conventional drawing-room, which has in this plan given way to an extension of the inner hall, so that together they make a large cool saloon with tiled floor in the centre of the house, thus creating a roomy common room. On the first floor are a large lounge-room and a number of large bedrooms and broad balconies, with a studio and workroom in the tower.