Australia is known for its eclectic mixture of architectural styles. Over the years, our home designs have been influenced by a wide range of fashions, including trends from Europe and America. So if you aim to design a new home, which style will you choose?
Here we explore seven popular house designs and discover some of Australia’s rich architectural history along the way.
Victorian homes date from Queen Victoria’s reign, which spanned the 1840s to 1901. It is this style of architecture Melbourne in particular is known for.
Typified by the workers’ cottages in this area, early Victorian homes feature brick or rendered exteriors with pitched slate or corrugated iron roofs and simple, functional designs.
As the Victorian era progressed and the Gold Rush caused an economic boom in Australia, house designs became fancier. Wrought-iron verandahs were popular, as were ornamental facades. Stained glass featured regularly inside later Victorian homes, along with ornate embellishments on ceilings and skirtings.
Victorian architectural homes can often be found in terraces, although there are plenty of large freestanding examples in Australian cities.
This architecture is a true celebration of the Australian identity as it represents the period when Australia became a country in its own right. Because of this, motifs such as kangaroos and emus regularly feature on homes of this era.
The British influence can still be seen heavily in Edwardian architecture, but the federation of Australia in 1901 encouraged architects to try different styles. The Queen Anne style became particularly popular, with asymmetrical pointed roofs, ornate verandahs and large, arched windows.
The influence of American culture in the 1920s led to huge demand for Californian bungalows. It was during this era that Australia’s major cities really began to grow, with residential architecture in Melbourne and Sydney extending outwards to cover vast areas of prime land that would become the suburbs.
The Californian culture was something many Australians aspired to – along with increased convenience and affordability. The bungalows ticked every box. Designed for a more relaxed lifestyle, these one-storey freestanding homes offered open-plan layouts, and for the first time, backyards and driveways became regular features of Australian homes.
Californian bungalows are still popular with Australian families today. They can be recognised by their brick exteriors, sloping roofs, and front verandahs supported by columns.
Between the two World Wars, Australian architecture also embraced the art deco style, which was hugely popular in France and Germany at that time. Distinctive and forward-looking, art deco houses can be recognised by their solid construction and clean, geometric lines. They feature balconies rather than verandahs.
Combining the modern with the traditional, art deco home interiors often included glass brick walls alongside ornate ceiling decorations.
Many examples of the art deco style still stand in the inner suburbs of Australia’s major cities, as they were often built as apartment blocks for workers.
Following World War II, there was a huge demand for housing in Australia as the soldiers returned and the Baby Boom began. Homes had to be built quickly and cheaply in large quantities to cater for the number of growing families, as well as the many immigrants starting new lives in Australia.
The result was the Post-War brick veneer home, Most of these were single-storey, and either double- or triple-fronted. Mass-produced materials such as wrought iron, cement and even asbestos were regularly used in their construction, with rubber and linoleum flooring inside.
Although these houses were more utilitarian and less attractive than many other architectural styles, they often came with a generous block of land, and were the first generation of Australian homes to feature double garages.
The 1950s and 60s saw Australian architect designed homes leap into open-plan living and connecting with the outdoor environment. Full-length windows stretching from floor to ceiling became a defining feature of the modern style, with sleek, clean lines and flat roofs. Fancy decoration was well and truly out of fashion – the simpler, the better!
The mid-century modern style can be found in suburbs all over Australia, and is currently experiencing a huge revival in popularity.
Contemporary architecture in Australia is constantly evolving as it adapts to changing lifestyle needs, adopts new fashions and looks to the future, while embracing elements of the past.
Sustainability is a key element of contemporary homes today, as we all want to protect the planet for future generations. The natural world has become an integral part of our indoor living, too, with materials such as wood and stone featuring heavily. Our open-plan lifestyles now extend seamlessly beyond the walls of our homes, into the outdoor environment beyond.
The possibilities for the future of Australian architecture are endless! But we hope this guide provides some insight and inspiration for custom home designs.
Download our Lubelso Luxury Home Design brochure for even more inspiration for your modern home design.
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