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.
The Australian shop, if it be situated with a northern or western aspect, is invariably characterised by a permanent verandah, extending right over the public footpath with supporting posts at the curb. These structures are requested by municipal bye-laws, and in some of the cities are required by law, to be of one uniform design and construction. The eye, therefore, becomes familiar with the long lines of covered-in footpaths which, while giving protection to the pedestrian, also saves the tradesman's goods from the damaging influences of direct sunlight.
While in the older shops the heavy wood-framed portable shutter is now and then seen, there is a very marked tendency to entirely dispense with closing-in devices of any kind. The light iron railing, and the iron or wood revolving shutter are fast giving way to this new order of design, the entirely unprotected window.
The type tends more and more towards the most open front possible on the ground floor, with glass kept down to within a few inches of footpaths, with nickel, copper, or brass-covered sash bars, and polished marble-covered pilasters. The device has been also adopted in certain cases of carrying the whole of the heavy superincumbent brick or stone structure of even large business premises entirely upon steel uprights, where the building regulations allow such a form of construction. Where the older regulations remain, such as in the city of Melbourne, this form of construction is not at present allowed; and the superstructure has to be supported on stone or brick piers.
That the modern system of artificial lighting has had a marked influence upon shop design is apparent, and light has called for more light, with the result that the glint of polished metals, marbles, tiles, and majolicas enter largely into modern design.
The simple manner of lath and plaster ceiling has also been almost entirely superseded by wood, ornamental stamped steel, zinc, or fibrous plaster work, as it has been found that these materials give a much more permanent result than ordinary plaster, which has a tendency to crack and fall from its place under the wear and tear of the upper floors and the variations of temperature.
The detailed front of shop at Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, by Mr. G. B. Leith (see Fig. 192), shows a centre recessed entry treatment with low windows and stone dwarf wall. The side piers are also of stone, to take the girders above. The upper portion is treated in red brick and ornamental stucco.
The Dispensary, Geelong, designed by Messrs. Laird & Barlow (Fig. 193), shows the planning of a two-storey shop with private side entry to residential apartments.
There is a part basement under for storage purposes.
Good effect has been obtained in the front by the use of coloured glazed tiles. The oriels over are carried in coke concrete, and some bold modelling marks the top pediment, which affords a pleasing sky-line.