Californian Bungalow 1920 - 1930

Californian Bungalow

Love them or loathe them, the Bungalow style is both extremely prevalent throughout our suburbs and a breakthrough design, signaling a radical departure from previous built form. The style was adapted from the Californian / American Bungalow and was born from the Arts and craft movement, its most famous proponent is perhaps the largest name in world architecture - Frank Lloyd Wright.

It was a radical re-think, a departure from the frilly ornamentation and symmetry of the cottage / villa designs. Often, its plan layout deconstructs the corridor with rooms opening onto other rooms and at last the bathroom has made its way in under the main roof.

Externally, it is a linear rectangular design that sits heavily upon the ground, even tapering its load with large masonry pillars that support its most dominant feature: a large right angled entrance gable. A counterpoint, if you like, to the work of contemporary Australian architect Glen Murcutt whose celebrated designs "Sits lightly upon the earth".

Some of the earliest "Homestead" designs, 1916-20, have the verandah covered by the continuation of the main roof [An overlap with the preceding Edwardian form] and as the years unfold a small front gable grows to its full 1920's proportion.

The "State Bank Bungalow", 1918-30, was constructed to the Banks specifications for the Returned Soldiers from World War 1 who qualified for low interest loans. Of modest appearance, they were usually of red brick or with a stucco rendered portion. They were built 'en masse' in selected localities such as the "Thousand Homes Scheme" in Colonel Light Gardens now world heritage listed for its visionary act of town planning. Identifying features include a concrete lintel around the house perimeter above window line, a floor plan area of less than 100 m2; Galvanized roof and timber frame casement windows.

The larger, more elaborate "Gentlemen's Bungalows" have Terra-cotta tiled roofs, glazed brick trims, sash windows, freestone front walls and, a few have, tapering side walls and pillars of random, round river stones. Most styles have low balustrades of red and rendered brick or stone running between the pillars enclosing the front verandah and to one side a timber pergola. The dominant low pitch gables were lined in a variety of ways: asbestos sheeting with stucco finish, weatherboards, wood shingle and pressed metal. Feature louvered panels and blunted gables cut back at 45 degrees are not uncommon.

Interior wise the Edwardian corridor arches lingers on and the tapering signature of the Bungalow is repeated in door trims with pergola ended "Egyptian" lintels, doors of bi-fold frosted casement glass and simple beveled skirtings all made of soft red pine.

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