There are a number of architectural influences that define the typical Australian household these include either the pre-1840 colonial- or Victorian-styled homes tell the more sustainable modular ones there are more futuristic. However, Australia has developed its own style in the form of Queenslander homes which are suitable for areas of warm tropical climates and frequent floods.
So if you’re looking to buy a property in Australia, it could be really refreshing to know about each of these styles and the influences behind them. But seeing as how there are so many of them, it can be pretty difficult to know exactly which one of them best personifies your personality and interests. The stylistic influences on homes are also likely to vary depending on which region of Australia you are in, real estate in Adelaide for example may be a bit different than designs favored in a northern city like Darwin.
That’s why we put together a list of some of the most popular Australian architecture styles to give you a better understanding of what’s in store. The fact of the matter is that each of these styles is exceedingly popular with homeowners these days, but in the end, it’s your choice that will decide what’s best for your needs.
Most of these styles are historical. If you’re interested in learning about what the construction industry is up to in the modern era, check out this piece by Procore.
1. The Victorian Style (1840-1901)
This Colonial House style was the rage from Queen Victoria’s time between 1840 to 1901. They started out as formal but regular one-story households – either terraced or freestanding – but became more detailed and bigger as time went by. They’re not that different than the classic worker’s cottage design seeing as how they’re constructed from bricks, with a pitched roof, a front veranda, and less fretwork.
Going into the mid-Victorian era (1861 to 1875), ornate detailing started getting more popular. This style is defined by ornamental brick facades, embellished moldings and ceilings, and cast-iron lacework.
Then came the late Victorian style homes (1876 to 1901) that featured molded timber work, cast-iron fireplaces in the lacework, decorative plaster ceiling, narrow and steep stairs, small windows and turned timber balustrades. The dining and living rooms were more on the front part of the house while kitchens at the back. The bedroom, on the other hand, were either away from the hallway or up the stairs if it had two-storeyed terraces.
If these types of houses are the type that you crave, then you’ll find that Melbourne has plenty of lots of them to go around.
2. Queenslander (1840s)
This was a unique and distinct recipe from Australia which, as its name indicates, started out in Queensland. It’s recognizable through its unique timbre and corrugated iron aspect. It was built in the 1840s to help homeowners endure the wet climate and adapt to the cultural needs of the residents as well. It’s still one of the more popular Australian architecture styles today due to their incredible durability as well as practical design.
These types of houses are elevated off the ground using vertical stems that make it look like the house is ‘floating’. It’s not only stylistic but also a practical design choice as the areas around here and Queensland are prone to flooding.
3. Edwardian/Federation (1895 to 1915)
Whether you refer to it as Edwardian or Federation, these two styles are actually one and the same. The name Edwardian refers to King Edward (1841 to 1910) who was renowned during the Federation time in Australia, which is when the nation became independent of Britain.
To deviate from the Edwardian influence in the architecture, the Federation asked the architects to add a little bit of the country’s own distinct identity in the design. That’s why you may notice that the Edwardian Australian homes have arched windows, ornate verandahs, and asymmetrical pointed roofs that use local themes like kangaroo and emo motifs.
Edwardian or Federation houses are identified by their stained glass, red brick exterior, return verandahs, bay windows, pressed metal ceilings, tessellated tiles, turned Timber posts and fretwork, finials, terracotta or slate-tiled roofs, and a long central corridor.
4. Worker’s Cottage (1840 to 1900)
If you’re looking for a humble home for a character in history, a worker’s college would suffice. They were built at a time when Australian cities were the center of industry. There were breweries, manufacturing plants, wool stores, warehouses, and timber yards typically in the inner suburbs of Sydney’s Pyrmont and Balmain. Workers usually resided in areas in weatherboard, sandstone or brick cottages.
However, at that time, these types of house architecture styles weren’t exactly the most desirable due to their unsanitary conditions and would often be blamed for spreading the bubonic plague at the start of the 1900s.
Now it is, they’re one of the most sought-after houses due to being filled with so much character like the hard-working citizens that once dwells within them.
5. Californian Bungalow (1920s)
Now we come to the American influence Californian bungalows that were one of the hottest modern architecture styles from the 1920s. Homeowners were largely influenced by the Californian culture due to its convenience and affordability.
These houses were what helped the Australian cities to thrive. After that, Sydney and Melbourne began to extend outwards so that huge areas of land – later becoming its suburbs – would be covered.
Although this style shares a number of identical traits from the Edwardian/Federation households, it is differentiated from its signature brick columns that hold the front veranda up.
The roofs are generally gabled and low pitched and, tiled with concrete and terracotta. The windows are double-hung and timber sometimes adorned with decorative leadlight.
6. Art Deco
When you mix style, design and art all-in-one you get Art Deco. It was quite common in the interwar period from the 1920s to the 30s. This style is characterized by decorative brickwork, curved facades, chevron patterns, metal-framed windows, geometric elements, timber-veneer wall paneling, parquetry floors, mottled tiles, and built-in joinery.
The Art Deco types in Australia preferred balconies instead of verandas. Some of these styles can still be seen in the suburbs of the nation’s major cities as they were built as apartment blocks for the sake of accommodating workers.