14 Jansz Crescent, Deakin. 14-jansz-feature

14 Jansz Crescent, Griffith

14 Jansz Crescent, Griffith was designed by Derek F Wrigley in 1957 as a residence for himself and was completed in 1959. It is an unusual house, being a combination of two different styles. No photograph of this house is available; the image above is from Google Maps.

The original building is an example of the post-war Melbourne regional style with its low pitched gable roof, widely projecting eaves, long unbroken roofline and timber posts. A western extension to the house, designed by Wrigley in 1966, is an example of the late twentieth century Sydney regional style, with its roof following the slope of the land and use of stained timbers.

Born in England in 1924, Derek Wrigley graduated in architecture and took up a position with the Australian National University (ANU) Planning Section in 1957, remaining there for twenty years. He took part in the planning of the ANU campus (with Roy Simpson from the firm Yuncken, Freeman) and the formation of the CCAE School of Environmental Design, now the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Canberra.

Significance

14 Jansz Crescent is regarded as a significant residence by the RAIA because, in its component parts, it is a good example of two architectural styles. The original part of the house was built at a time when the post-war Melbourne regional style was new to Canberra and it incorporated the principal design features of that style. The extension was built at a time when the Sydney regional style was new to Canberra and it, too, incorporated the major design features of that style.

Although the house has been modified to the extent that it doesn’t have any of the original 1959 facades totally intact, it still contributes to our understanding of these two styles of post-war Australian regional architecture.

Description

The house is set below the level of the street to the rear of the block and is constructed of painted cavity brickwork, stud framing clad with timber panelling and fibre cement sheeting, concrete slab floors and galvanised steel roofing on timber framing.

The original Melbourne regional style residence was a square shape, with the living areas across the north, bedrooms to the east and south and the kitchen and bathroom to the west and south. With the Sydney regional style extension to the west and a further, later extension to the east, the house is now a split-level ‘L’ shape.

Entry is to the north through a large courtyard under a pergola. The centrally located front door opens directly into the living room on axis with the fireplace, a significant design feature of the house. It was designed by Wrigley, with an angled back of pre-cast concrete and is open to the sides with voids extending up behind the brick openings to below ceiling level. The enclosing brickwork has square openings below ceiling level to allow warm air to circulate.

Down a wide, five step staircase is the family room, kitchen and dining room. These rooms comprised the first extension and all overlook the west rear garden through full height and width glazing. The east wall of the family room has clerestory glazing between the deep timber beams.

A second stairway connects the dining room with the original hall behind the living room. The narrow hall continues past the bathroom and three bedrooms to the second extension consisting of the main bedroom and ensuite.

Sources and further reading