You may have heard of the term Ashgrovian Queenslander, but what makes them so special? How are they any different to classical Queenslander architecture? 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 we continue with what defines an Ashgrovian Queenslander, let’s have a look at the historical context surrounding them. This new form of architecture started popping up in the 1920’s; a time of great, post-war optimism for Australia and many parts of the world. Like many industries in the roaring twenties, people were starting to break away from the traditional and classical boxes they had been placed into for generations.
So, where did Ashgrovian Queenslanders originate from? One very intellectual guess could be the suburb of Ashgrove in Brisbane; however, these Queenslanders took on their form through the popularity of the Californian Bungalow. Just like many aspects of Australian culture, architecture was heavily influenced by America and art deco culture during the 1920’s. The Hollywood Film Industry took the world by storm, and with its rise came the Californian Bungalow.
Originating from Indian and Japanese architecture 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 20’s, 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 styled Queenslanders. These houses lined the railway and tram lines, as not everyone had a car until around the 1950’s.
Ashgrovian Queenslander Exterior
The most notable aspect of the Ashgrovian exterior, and the Cali bungalow for that matter, is the gable roof. A gable roof, unlike the hipped roof, consists of two sloping sections that meet at the roof ridge. The characteristics of the gables and their decorative, pseudo half-timbering is deemed “Mock Tudor”. This Mock Tudor style can also be seen in the lead-light windows that many 1920’s 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. Out with the old, in with the new. Ashgrovian Queenslander Architecture features a larger living area, normally at the front of the house, and rooms branching off from the main room.
Another product of the optimistic and roaring era of the 20’s was the boom of property development. A low supply and high demand of timber resulted in a high production of decorative plaster ceilings as opposed to the VJ, timber construction used in traditional Queenslanders.
Although this breakaway from classical architecture was exciting, this interior style does create some difficulties. With rooms branching off the main living area, where will the furniture go? Many Ashgrovian living rooms sport doors or windows on every wall. In the 20’s, when this style really took off, a lot of families used 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 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 renovation.