Melbourne’s Architectural History

Melbourne’s Architectural History
It’s not surprising that houses in Melbourne are an eclectic mix of architectural styles – some emulating European or British architecture, while others represent a distinctly original Australian style.

Skipping over the first 50 years of basic building construction we move to the designs of the Victorian period (c.1840 – c.1890) which incorporated several different styles. Examples include the Tudor, Georgian and Italianate designs as well as the terrace house which is still prominent now in many inner Melbourne neighborhoods such as Kensington.

Next came the Federation period (c.1890 – c.1915). Buildings at this time were primarily Edwardian in style but called “Federation” due to Australia becoming a nation in its own right in 1901. Houses comprised cream painted decorative timber features, tall chimneys and fretwork. They were a Tudor type look, especially on gables, and Edwardian gave a simpler cottage look – evident in many of Essendon’s streets.

During the Inter-War and Post War periods, Californian bungalows became extremely popular. This instantly recognisable design is distinguished by its columns holding up the front verandah area. And a gable roof always faces either the front or side. The Californian Bungalow has been a renovator’s delight, and properties of this nature are always highly sought after right across the nation. Moonee Ponds celebrates some great examples.

Some of Melbourne’s most lauded properties of late have been styles from the 60s and 70s. This was a preiod of great architectural creativity. Large rooms, picture windows and the first “open plan” kitchen/living spaces.

In today’s property market, it’s this mix of architectural designs that provide so many options for buyers to find their “perfect” home. Local and state laws are in place to protect many of Melbourne’s finest examples of period housing and streetscapes.

A perfect example is 36 Ormond Street, Kensington.

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