This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
Stoep and steps are tiled, and the timberwork in gables and the supporting brackets to balcony overhanging roof are of sawn and shaped jarrah, left to weather naturally. Jarrah thus left tones to a beautiful silver grey, greatly resembling old oak, and at the same time losing nothing of its durability. Architecturally, it is obviously modelled on English lines adapted to local requirements.
:St Johns Vicarage-Wynberg:
The house shown in Fig. 288 is built on a lovely site at Kenilworth, a beautiful suburb situated 7 or 8 miles east of Cape Town, and might, as regards its exterior appearance, be mistaken for a small English country house. A study, however, of its internal arrangements and planning will reveal many points of difference, and show how suitable and appropriate it is climatically.
The plan is dominated by the lounge hall, a very successful feature both as regards pleasant home-life and architectural appearance, the interior views and vistas being very charming. The stoep was planned at the north end of house, in order to secure privacy and a very picturesque view of the Eastern spurs of Table Mountain.
The house is built of the usual materials, the external walls being finished in cream plaster on a red brick base. The roof tiles are of a bright red. The interior joinery is mostly of Californian red pine twice oiled, and is very effective in appearance. It was designed by Messrs. A. & W. Reid.
St. John's Vicarage, Wynberg, C.C., erected from the plans of Mr. C. H. Smith, A.R.I.B.A., is illustrated in Fig. 289. Although built for a vicarage, there is practically no difference in planning between this house and the necessary accommodation for an ordinary house of the same size. The planning is exceedingly simple and convenient, a feature being made of a large and for the most part uncovered stoep. As both Wynberg and Kenilworth, in common with the other suburbs on this side of Cape Town, had no drainage at the time when this was built (a system is being now installed), the sanitary accommodation both in this and the house just previously illustrated required special thought and arrangement.
The exterior treatment is very simple, but effective. The rough-cast here has also been finished cream, the shutters and other woodwork painted green. The roofs of main buildings are of Marseilles, and those of bay windows of English tiles.
Fig. 290 illustrates a somewhat peculiarly planned house, which was the outcome (so far as plan goes) of the owner's personal views, based upon his long experience of the Cape climate, and represents more or less his ideas of a house suitable for a small family and local conditions, and his own personal tastes. Owing to a large tree in the grounds, which was not to be destroyed, shown to the left of the house in the perspective view, the entrance was rather more cramped than desired either by the owner or architect.
The large living room was designed for the various purposes of dining, drawing, and billiard-room, a small billiard table of about 8 by 4 feet being arranged for at the bay end of the room. The study was to be also used occasionally as a breakfast-room, and a room for callers when necessary. The stoep and balcony face north-west.
The exterior treatment is based upon both colonial and English precedent, and as the house faced three streets, and there is a fair amount of open space on the remaining side, there was to be no back in the usual acceptation of the term in South Africa. The materials used do not vary at all from the usual, namely, rough and smooth-cast and brick and stone foundations. The rough-cast in this case has been coloured brown with a pink tinge, and the smooth-cast cream. The stoep columns are of cast cement, and the roof is covered with Marseilles tiles.
House At Sea Point Cape Town.
The house shown in Fig. 291, and designed by Mr. Stanley Hudson, is situated on the Berea, the principal suburb or residential portion of the town of Durban, Natal, and overlooks the town and harbour.
The building is very economically arranged and picturesquely designed, although perhaps it would gain by the rooms, etc., being somewhat enlarged. The bedrooms, being so much in the roof, are also not quite suitable to the semi-tropical heat of this part of the world. Apart however, from these objections, the house is as conveniently and comfortably arranged as any illustrated, whilst its picturesque appearance is beyond question both externally and internally. The quadrangular arrangement of the stable and the separate "boys" room will be noticed.
Fig. 292 shows the residence of Sir J. L. Hulett, quite the largest illustrated, and planned by Messrs. Stott & Kirkby on a somewhat grandiose scale. It is reminiscent of many Georgian houses both in England and America.
The building - now in course of erection - is situated on a magnificent site commanding a view of the Indian Ocean, and overlooking the Port of Durban on the one side and Mitchell Park and a range of hills on the other, with an open view all round. It is three storeys in height, with part basement, and, the roofs being flat, forms a promenade at the tower level, so arranged that standards can be fixed over any or all of the roofs to support awnings.
The plan is cleverly arranged to obtain very wide stoeps and open-air loggia spaces, without any loss of light in the various rooms through the windows being set too far back.
The decorations to the various rooms are receiving special attention, a great feature being made of the two-storey hall, which is fitted with an elaborately designed teak staircase. The hall floor is of parquetry (specially imported from England), and the walls are lined with teak panelling, with teak half timberwork in the ceiling and upper portions of the hall. The whole of the fittings and furniture of the library, including the mantelpiece, panelling, book-shelves, tables, etc., are also being executed in teak.
The steps leading to the portd-cochere, to the entrance porch, and the semicircular portico are in white Sicilian marble, and all loggias and verandahs, etc., are laid with superior glazed tiles. The whole of the kitchen quarters are similarly tiled, the walls having tiled dados.
The fittings to the kitchen, scullery, pantry, wash-house, and servery consist of marble slabs, and the other fittings throughout the building are in keeping with a residence of this character and magnitude.
Many of the houses here illustrated have stabling, etc., connected with them, but the arrangements and details of same differ so slightly from buildings of this nature elsewhere that, except in one instance (Fig. 291), where the stabling and outhouses form an integral part of the design, it has not been thought necessary to reproduce them.
Although the accompanying illustrations show houses more or less suitable and satisfactory, taking into consideration local requirements, yet conditions differ so much, even in towns situated but a few hundred miles from each other, that it is impossible without several years' experience of South Africa for any architect to successfully design and carry out houses thoroughly suitable and adapted to all needs.
The author has had several opportunities of studying plans, working drawings, and details of houses designed by British architects for South Africa. In the best, although the defects and differences may seem but small to the outside eye, they (the defects) are often of such a character as to nullify many excellent points in the plans and design. In the worst the houses are but travesties of what a South African house should be.