Federation style, also known as Australia’s housing style, was a prevalent architectural style in  Australia from 1890 to 1915. The Queen Anne style and Edwardian style were widespread in the United Kingdom’s antedated Federation style. Both Queen Anne and Edwardian styles are named after the respective kings and queens, and they coincided with the Federation of Australia, and many people confused them with being the same. Generally speaking, the Federation style is the Australian version of the Edwardian and is deferred primarily on Australian motifs, flora, and geometric designs. You can easily find federal residences in the suburbs surrounding the victoria belts and the regional capitals. 

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An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet1
A federal property of Brighton Beach Federation _©Hodges Brighton

How do you identify Federation architecture:

There are many remarkable features of Federation Architecture, which define the whole style:

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  1. The predominant use of terracotta roofing tiles and exposed brickwork with various shades of red but very subtle contrast.
  2. A complex roof with various divisions reflecting the positions of the rooms within.
  3. Card or turned wood is usually painted in cream white with distinct ornamental features.
  4. Colorful tinted glasses and leadlight windows with white painted frames.
  5. A complicated dominant roofline created by the combination of flying gables hips and exposed rafter usage
  6. Tall chimneys with exposed brickwork are often plastered and crafted with pots.
  7. High ceilings with highly ornamental interior designs.
  8. Front porch and verandah
  9. Decorative Timber work and latticework made of cast iron. 
  10. Windows or various forms like straight, segmented, round-headed, narrower proportion to Italianate windows.

The Federation architecture generally creates an impression of irregularity, different massing featuring variety in textures and colors.

An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet2
The various textures, complicated roof gables, white cream painted verandahs of a federal house. _©https://federationhome.com/2018/07/02/sydney-gothic-queen-an

Various styles of Federation Architecture:

There are majorly 12 variations of the original Federation Architecture that existed contemporarily and could be distinguished by very minute features:

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  1. Federation Queen Anne
  2. Federation Free Classical
  3. Federation Arts and Crafts
  4. Federation Filigree
  5. Federation Anglo-Dutch
  6. Federation Gothic
  7. Federation Carpenter Gothic
  8. Federation Warehouse
  9. Federation Romanesque
  10. Federation Free Style
  11. Federation Bungalow
  12. Federation Academic Classical

All these styles had their variations; however, only four were used predominantly in residential houses.

An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet3
An Australian Federal House _©https://www.hodges.com.au/the-appeal-of-australian-federation-architecture/

Federation Queen Anne Style

The famous Federation, Queen Anne style, was predominantly used for domestic architecture and emerged around the 1990s. The Federation Queen Anne style focused on embracing the outdoor lifestyle in the Australian household. The style glorifies the use of asymmetrical and complex gables with white framed windows, tiling on the patio floors, highly decorated front verandahs, making the view of the house picturesque. 

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An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet4
Caerleon, the first Federation Queen Anne house._ ©Sardaka

Caerleon is one of the outstanding examples of Queen Anne’s style. It was the first Queen Anne residence, built in the Sydney suburbs of Bellevue Hill, and has been a historic house since then. The two-story home was built in 1885 and was initially designed by Sydney architect Harry Kent. Being the first one in this style, this house represents all the elementary features:  the deep red brick walls with stones,  cream-white painted frames, use of leadlight windows, long distinctive chimneys, terracotta shingles, extensive veranda, and bay windows. The open verandah with the elaborate green lawns having various plants emphasizes embracing the outdoor lifestyle. The house also has intricate details in the windows, fireplaces, leadlights, and many other places.

An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet5
Entry Fireplace, with carved mahogany mantel._ ©Jill White.

Other examples of the style:  West Maling, Penshurst Avenue, Penshurst, New South Wales; Turramurra Ingleholme, Boomerang Street, Turramurra, New South Wales

Federation Arts and Crafts

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Having its origin mainly in England, the style was a response to the unpretentious and impersonal nature of the Industrial period. Art and craft handiwork was emphasized to give a human touch to the houses and help people reconnect rather than machines. The style was mainly on using natural and original materials with the collaboration of craftspeople and artisans.

An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet6
Caerleon, the first Federation Queen Anne house._ ©Ruwoltj

The picture above is one of the astonishing examples of Federation Art and Craft style. Erica, 21 the Appian way also known as the Hoskins Estate, Appian Way is one of the most unusual houses belonging to the wealthy industrialists George J.Hoskins. The external finish of the house is in roughcast concrete except for the slate shingles in the roof. We can spot two long, tapering chimneys, contrary to Queen Anne style’s cuboidal chimneys. The verandahs are the same, except the column design is much simpler. The chimneys slice the gables asymmetrically. The Art and craft influence are dominant in the roughcast exterior, slate roof,and the tapered chimneys treated with Voysey- esque treatment.

St. Ellero is also a great example of the Federation Art and Craft style. The four chimneys are tapered in the same way as the roughcast exterior look. The artistic use of stone tiles in the bay window is also characteristic features of Federation Art and Crafts style. The slate shingles are similar to all the other Federal houses, and the columns are simple yet have little artistic ornamentations. The feature that makes it different from others is the roughcast finish rather than red brickworks. 

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Other examples of the style:  Glyn, Kooyong Road, Toorak, Victoria; and Erica, Appian Way, Burwood, New South Wales.

Federation Bungalow

The Federation Bangalore style was immersed a little later after the British art and crafts movement around the 1910s. The bungalow-style combined the use of simple elements in a simple and unpretentious style in contrast to the picturesque style of Federation Queen Anne style. Houses were made of simple massing, with gable roof forms, deep verandahs, and dominant balconies. It can also be seen as a merging spin-off of the Queen Anne style and the California Bungalow style.

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An overview of Federation Architecture - Sheet8
Front view of the ‘Cassa Tasso, dramatic’Appian Way, Burwood, New South Wales, Federation Bungalow_ ©Sardaka

The above picture corresponds to the Cassa Tasso Federation Bungalow in New south wales. The bungalow is a single-story house with a high ceiling, one of the significant striking features of federation bungalow houses. One can again spot the white creme-colored frames and high-quality finishes in them. These bungalows also had multi-paned windows and colored casements. The entrance stairs had ground hedging leading into an open verandah. The roof shingles have simple ornamentations combined with their simplicity. The house depicts the approach from the complex Queen Anne house to the simple massing of forms in this style.

Other examples of the style: Nee Morna, Nepean Highway, Sorrento, Victoria; The Eyrie, Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga, New South Wales.

Federation Filigree  

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This architectural style was primarily found in the hotter areas of Australia. One of the main motives of the style was to create shading devices and allow the free flow of air. It is also known as Queenslander style as it was primarily spotted in Queensland. 

The Derry house in the Neutral Bay, New South Wales, is an excellent example of Federation Filigree architecture_ ©Sardaka

The Derry house in the Neutral Bay in New South Wales is one of the most prominent examples of Federation Filigree style. The hip roofs are predominant in a fantastic place, which is often broken by false gables. The extensive timberwork in the verandah is also a significant feature of this style. The patterns, though, are a bit modern and devoid of high ornamentations. The use of colored leadlight windows is similar to the other styles. The balconies have cream-white painted balustrades with simple decorations that frame the facades of the house. Most of the features remain constant in this style, except for a few deviations, making it different.

Other examples of the style: Belltrees House, Scone, New South Wales; Terrace of homes, east side of High Street, New South Wales.

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Author

Currently in her 3rd year of Architecture at IIT Roorkee, Muskan believes that architecture has the potential to shape this world and its future. Being a keen observer, she always finds connection between architecture and human psychology. Besides this, she also loves art, music, movies and connecting with others.

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