You may have heard of the term ‘Ashgrovian Queenslander’, but what makes these iconic homes so special? How are they different to classical Queenslander architecture in Brisbane suburbs? If you find yourself asking these questions, you have come to the right place. Whether you think you may own an Ashgrovian, or you are just intrigued, get ready for a deep dive into this gorgeous form of residential architecture.
A bit of History
Before considering what defines an Ashgrovian Queenslander, let’s have a look at the history surrounding them. This new form of architecture started in the 1920s at a time of great, post-war optimism for Australia. Like many industries in the Roaring Twenties, people were breaking away from traditional and classical ideas that had been held for generations.
So, where did Ashgrovian Queenslanders originate from? Mmnnhh! Let’s look at the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove. These Queenslanders borrowed from the design style of the popular Californian Bungalow. Brisbane architecture was heavily influenced by America and art deco culture during the 1920s. The Hollywood Film Industry took the world by storm, and with it, came the rise of the Californian Bungalow.
Original Californian Bungalow Style
Originating from Indian and Japanese architectural influences, the Bungalow was made popular by the state of California and the industry that surrounded it. This specific architecture consists of a one storey brick home, displaying simple interiors.
Image source: Marshall White
Australia’s Adaptation of the Californian Bungalow
Australia took this idea of a bungalow and ran with it. In the late ’20s, these small-scale Queenslanders started popping up in the second and third rings of the city. Suburbs like Ashgrove (who would have thought?), Alderley, Newmarket, Wooloowin, Morningside, and more; saw a rapid rise in bungalow-style Queenslanders. These houses lined the railway and tram lines, as not everyone had a car until the 1950s.
Ashgrovian Queenslander Exterior
The most notable aspect of both the Ashgrovian Queenslander and the Cali bungalow is the gabled roof. Unlike the hipped roof, a gable roof consists of two sloping sections that meet at the roof ridge in a style deemed “Mock Tudor”. This style can also be seen in the lead-light windows that many 1920s Queenslanders display.
While a classical Queenslander shows off its extensive verandah, an Ashgrovian Queenslander humbly presents a small porch off to one side with steps leading up.
Ashgrovian windows consist of two main types: the bay and the casement. Not many Queenslanders that were built pre-war feature bay windows as they were a big characteristic influence from the Cali style. Many classical Queenslanders flaunt double hung windows or casement.
Ashgrovian Queenslander Interior
When you walk into an Ashgrovian Queenslander, you will immediately notice the differences between this architecture and that of the classical Queenslander.
When looking at a classical Queenslander from a street view, you will see steps leading up to it, a wide verandah around the perimeter of the whole building, and doors in the centre of the house. Inside is a straight hallway with rooms branching off it.
Classical Queenslanders are defined by a strict set of rules, and not many strayed from that path. For example, the windows are in the centre of the walls, despite where the view is. In an Ashgrovian Queenslander, things are a little different.
The classical idea of specific rooms with specific purposes, connected by a single hallway was abolished. Ashgrovian Queenslander architecture features a larger living area, normally at the front of the house and rooms branching off from the main room.
The optimistic and roaring era of the 1920s saw the boom of property development. Low supply and high demand for timber resulted in high production of decorative plaster ceilings as opposed to the VJ timber construction used previously in traditional Queenslanders.
Although this break from classical architecture was exciting, this interior design style does create problems. Many Ashgrovian living rooms sport doors or windows on every wall. With rooms branching off the main living area, where will the furniture go?
In the ’20s when this style really took off a lot of families used their homes purely for eating and sleeping. The living happened at work, school, or outside the house in the back yard. Nowadays, you may find yourself having interior difficulties when filling the unique living areas with couches, TV’s, and entertainment units.
Ah, the humble nature of the Ashgrovian Queenslander. Their cottage sweetness just blows our minds away. We love any opportunity to improve them even further through Brisbane renovations architects.