Thursday, July 03, 2014

Strange architectural principles in the age of Humanism

State Houses
Ugly Architecture
Examples in Remuera
Back doors facing street

Architecture of an unusual type that has little aesthetic recommendation is illustrated by a number of houses recently constructed by the State Housing Department in various parts of the city, particularly in several Remuera areas. Severe, box-shaped affairs, some of the houses in outward appearance fully measure up to the description of one tenant who wryly likened those in his street to barns and superior sheds. Two adjacent houses in Lingarth Street. Remuera, are scarcely things of beauty. Each presents a plain, square frontage, broken by two lines of small windows and a curiously designed porch that juts out at the left-hand corner. At either end of the porch, opening directly on to the street, are the back and front doors, the latter being protected by a glass screen.

Window-cleaning Problem

The design is even less beautiful at the back, where the upper floor overhangs by about 2ft. at one end and by a few inches at the other. Cleaning the 52 windows will be one of the minor problems for tenants, especially at the back, where the ground slopes fairly steeply away, necessitating the use of a very tall ladder. For these houses, of four rooms, kitchenette and bathroom, situated about a quarter of a mile from the rather infrequent Victoria Avenue tram, the State requires £1 18s 6d a week in rent. Situated immediately opposite are three or four houses of similarly unprepossessing appearance. Alike in design, these are single-storey structures whose plain lines, flat roofs and plastered walls give them the appearance of small factory buildings.

Strange Architectural Principles

Wiles Avenue, off Arney Road, Remuera, also has its quota of houses built according to strange architectural principles. The State has erected a fairly large number of homes in this area, and, while some of the buildings are most attractive, others are marred by ugly features which, through slight alterations to the plans, could easily be avoided. Most noticeable are the cases where the back door opens directly, or almost directly, on to the street. Downpipes and vents adjacent to front doors spoil the appearance of other dwellings, especially when they are painted in colours which contrast vividly with the walls behind. Other houses whose lines can scarcely be a source of pride to the State are to be found among the group of homes that has been built adjacent to the comer of Orakei and Upland Roads.

State Houses
New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 23612, 23 March 1940, Page 15

From Papers Past

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