Austerity 1940 - 1950

Austerity style home

Building restrictions were in force during the Austerity period: 1941 - 1950's, and the floor plan was limited to around 110 square metres. Examples of the style can be found as late as 1955. Building materials consisted of brick, cement block and asbestos. Brick quality was poor so cement render with stucco painted finish was commonplace.

Dressed stone was occasionally used on the front wall with a distinctive feature being the concrete lintel over the windows sitting in line with the strongest signature; a small front porch with a flat concrete roof. For the first time cement tiled roofing was used, eaves were narrow and widows were often steel frame casement style. This style, like the preceding era, used the lean-to form at rear; it virtually became extinct after the Austerity period.

"Waterfall" Austerity, 1948 -1955, came into prominence with the first stirrings of ultra modern architecture. Often owner built, rarely in stone, but in cinder block or cement bricks using a Medusa rendered finish [to imitate the colour, grain and line of stone].

Rounded corners and windows are their most distinctive feature. This style enjoyed brief popularity and as better materials became available and tastes changed, the style vanished.

"Conventional Gable Fronted", 1935 - 1945 warrants a mention as they were widely accepted and popular, stripped of embellishment with a gable façade and the balance of the roof usually hipped. A common variation was the "Conventional Hipped Roof", 1936 - 1945 which became the template for styles to come. The loss of gable front resulted in the straight hipped roof now becoming the most common of all roof designs for decades to come.

Significantly, The SA Housing trust came into being, by act of parliament in 1936, on behalf of the crown to build housing stock for sale or rental. Although they were not influences of style and followed the fashions of the day they contributed much to the built environment with targeted assistance. Also, after World War II the Department of Housing - War Service Homes Branch not only provided finance at advantageous terms but also dictated the acceptable designs and specifications of the houses, known as "War Service Homes".

There were close on forty floor plans usually 90 square m2; two bedroom, red brick, small eaves, cement tiled hip roofs and minimum cupboards and tiling. War service homes were built 'en masse' in areas such as Blair Athol, Plympton, Novar Gardens and Glenelg North.

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