An insight from the Head of Create – Julian Faelli
There have been a number of great projects recently that celebrate the much criticised Post War ‘Brick Vanilla’. As locations that were formally ‘suburbia’ have started to become desirable and gentrified (eg. Thornbury and Preston) a number of keen eyes are beginning to celebrate and work with 50’s post war homes.
The rapid uptake of the family car after the war spurred housing growth on the pastoral land between Melbourne’s radial train lines.
The new subdivisions were bigger than Melbourne’s early working class haunts of Collingwood and Carlton. Typically the suburbs created in the 50’s and 60’s had blocks of 500 – 800sqm. These new areas offered the start of the suburban dream for a expanding middle class.
Speculative builders like AV Jennings cut their teeth on these housing estates in a similar fashion to their contemporaries on the fringes today. The wartime bungalow was overtaken by the brick veneer. They were cheap and fast to construct at the time, despite this, the structures have held up well in many cases. The materials used at the time had something to do with it – house frames built in ‘green’ hardwood have only got stronger as the years have gone by.
Now they offer accommodation for the next generation of young and growing families. More often than not – professional couples with kids who still want to be close to the city and lifestyle locations.
These post war homes are a great base for an extension to meet changing family needs.
It’s becoming desirable to renovate instead of heading further a field to the more established suburbs, like Surrey Hills, Hawthorn and Ascot Vale where there is traditionally larger housing stock.
Architects such as WoodWoodWard and Tribe Studio in Sydney have developed a unique approach – where the extension is a separate pavilion, providing varied spaces and courtyards in place of the grassed backyard.