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Design Review: Volume 2, Issue 4 (December-January 1949-50)

A Pictorial Survey of Housing in New Zealand: Part Two

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A Pictorial Survey of Housing in New Zealand: Part Two

5 This well-proportioned cottage with a standard plan of a central passage with rooms on either side was built about 1870. There is a lingering trace of Regency in form and in detail. The windows are double hung with a single glazing bar. Note the strong repeating pattern of the fascia to the eaves of the verandah roof, this shortly to degenerate into excessive fret cut patterns which was a characteristic of practically all houses built between 1880 and 1910. The verandah roof in this photograph is of galvanised iron.

6 The Georgian tradition can be traced here. In England this style had long since been replaced by the Gothic revival with its picturesque and romantic forms. The plan is the standard plan of the times, but the elevations and details are of interest. Careful attention was given to the placing of the windows and door between pilasters which support a frieze and cornice. Note the panelling between the foundation and window sills. There is no place for a verandah or porch over the front door in the South Pacific Georgian-style house. Because of the necessity of a good pitch to the roof when covered with shingles, it was a problem to roof the square plan of such a house as this. The solution shown here, which became common, was to truncate the roof, thus forming a central gutter or a flat, which has no doubt been a source of worry throughout the life of the house. This type of construction would be justified by the designer of this house because it was always the aim in the Georgian style to subdue the roof and if possible to hide it altogether. Note the condition of the unpaved road without kerb or footpath.

7 The architect who designed this house had some knowledge of the classic tradition but was carried away by the Victorian passion for display, hence the tower. The sketch without the tower emphasises the commonsense proportions of this house. Note the wide rusticated weatherboards and double hung windows. It is a house of character and considering the time in which it was built, 1890, shows a restraint in detail. The next twenty years of house-building was to see almost a complete break with such restraint.

Sketch of No. 7 with Tower Removed

Sketch of No. 7 with Tower Removed

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8 This house when built in the 'eighties was no doubt regarded by its owner as the latest in design and fittings. Note the large single panes of glass to the dormer windows, the curly edge to the dormer gables, with the popular gable spike. The spoutings and downpipes made it possible to store tank water and so provide running water in the kitchen and bathroom (perhaps there was no bathroom), a big improvement on the well. The wrought-iron gate was also no doubt a cause of pride to the owner. There is an interesting transition from this gate to the gate-posts and the fence. The fence is of the simplest construction, of split rails and slotted posts, a sharp contrast to the skilfully built house, which required intricate construction and a high development of technical skill. The builder has completely mastered the problem of constructing dormer windows to such an extent that he preferred to show his skill and the owner's wealth by lighting all upstairs rooms with dormer windows, instead of making use of a window in the gable end, which was the usual solution. In this house the gable windows are missing. The verandah is still popular and was to remain so for the next twenty-five years.

Photographs by Courtesy of the Turnbull Library