The 19th & 20th centuries brought incredible change for Britain & Ireland, through urbanisation, industrialisation & the steam age. Due to the massive change in trade and lifestyle, many fled to the newly settled country of New Zealand to begin life anew with a more rural and nostalgic feel, which many of them had lost to the new Britain.
During this immigration, while the cheaper journey was direct from England to New Zealand, there was a faster option for a larger fee that went through the United States. This journey included a train across Europe to break up the sea travel. A huge number of wealthier immigrants to New Zealand took this passage, and gathered inspiration for their future home from the architecture they saw on the West Coast of America.
These gorgeous hillside homes were sunny, fresh & inviting. Distinctive qualities of the Victorian Villa were the feature gabled roofs, a bay window in the front room, decorative features along the eaves & on the gable. The inspiration from architecture in North America, like those depicted above, had a direct impact on architecture in New Zealand.
The Bungalow movement in America in the 20th century changed the formality of the home, allowing for the design to reflect the need for the sun, and gave a much more humble aesthetic. The construction was made of simple materials, with less ornate features, giving a relaxed and cosy aesthetic. Included in the change was also the lowering of roof lines, which helped keep homes warmer in the winter months.
This relaxed design is reflected in early homes within New Zealand, and it can even be said that many of the Victorian Villas are on the cusp between traditional villas and bungalows.
In the homes in Oriental Bay, you can see the roof lines relaxing, and the ornate decorative eaves slip away for more simplistic and honest structures, humble, yet still home.
Much of the research for this post was read in writings by William Toomath.