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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

Housing Construction Department

Housing Construction Department

Towards the end of 1936 the Department of Housing Construction was fdrmed. Early in 1937 tenders were let and construction began on 385 houses at Miramar and Lower Hutt, Wellfngton. By September, 1939, construction had started in 110 towns, and 5000 houses had been completed, with an additional 2500 in course of erection.

The detached house set in its own grounds is generally the ideal type of accommodation for New Zealand conditions. For those whose needs are small and purses light, semi-detached houses of various types were evolved.

In laying out each housing scheme definite systems of grouping are adopted. Dwellings are symmetrically set back, staggered, or grouped about some central feature. On hilly sites they are arranged to conform to the natural contours of the land. Dwellings are planned so that the most is made of any view, and are placed to expose the site to the sun as much as possible. Living-rooms are given the choice aspect, the maximum sun and view. Great care is exercised to ensure that porches are sheltered from prevailing winds.

The average area of single-house units is approximately 1050 square feet. In-each group of houses 15 per cent, have four bedrooms, 40 per cent, three bedrooms, 35 per cent, two bedrooms, and 10 per cent, one bedroom. As a rule, the kitchen is not regarded as an eating-place, but as a workroom, and is fully equipped with cupboards, bins, drawers, safe, drying cupboard, terrazzo sink-top and electric or gas range. An electric or a gas hot-water service is installed. A wireless aerial is provided in the roof space. As a rule, houses are constructed with timber framing; 50 per cent, of houses are finished externally with brick veneer, 30 per cent, with weatherboards, and 20 per cent, with plaster on metal lath. Concrete construction is used page 44 frequently. Tile roofs predominate. Walls and ceilings are lined with fibrous plaster sheets, and walls are finished with wallpaper.

To many people the multi-unit type of dwelling affords more freedom for the pursuit of their particular interests. To meet this need the Department is erecting 50 flats at Berhampore, Wellington. Other schemes for various localities are under consideration. The site at Berhampore is close to playing fields and fine sea beaches. The centre of the development is to be laid out in lawns and gardens. The smallest flats have a living-room with bed-recess, and a kitchen and a bathroom. The largest flats have a living-room, three bedrooms and a kitchen and a bathroom. Ample laundry facilities are provided. A recreation hall has been designed to serve as a social centre for the tenants.

Large-scale operations have made it possible to carry standardisation of house parts to greater lengths than has been customary in New Zealand. Chimneys, fireplaces, windows, doors, kitchen fittings, hardware, fences and gates, etc., are of standardised types and patterns. In most districts the sections have been planted with trees and hedges, which, in later years, will add materially to the amenities of the developments.