Residential flats in Sydney : development of a building type, 1887 - 1914

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis investigates the early history of the residential flat building as it unfolded in Sydney between 1887 and 1914. It begins in 1887, when the earliest known discussions about flat buildings were published in Australian newspapers and journals. By 1914, flat buildings were, if not prolific, certainly a well established building type. Three different forms of flat building were constructed: "Workers' Flats" for the poor, "Luxury Flats" for the rich and those for middle income earners. This thesis traces the discussions and debates in Sydney in the late 1880s concerning provision of improved accommodation for the working poor. It reveals the first known built example of a flat building, the Stevens' Buildings, completed in 1900 and largely overlooked in other studies. This thesis describes the State Government program of utilising resumed areas of the Rocks for construction of workers' housing from 1903 and the earliest flat building constructed by Sydney Council, Strickland Buildings. This thesis gives an account of the second contrasting form of flat building: the "Luxury Flat" building. The Albany was designed in 1903, followed by Craignish, Beulah, Strathkyle, Wyoming and Kingsclere. The third form of flat building appeared some years later, from 1913, and was intended for middle income earners. Early examples described are Coolong, Montana and Boonara. This thesis analyses the different location patterns that occurred: workers' flats near The Rocks or industrial areas, luxury flats in more prestigious and expensive parts of the City, and those for middle income earners in desirable suburbs within easy reach of the City. It illustrates the number of storeys, provision of passenger lifts and constructional systems embodied in each form of flat building. It covers the sizes, rooms and planning of the different flats. This thesis depicts the use of architects and styles employed. It contrasts the buildings' owners and occupants, and the reasons for their construction. This thesis identifies three mam criticisms directed towards flats: the supposed inappropriateness for children, propensity for overcrowding and lack of privacy. Finally this thesis outlines the longevity of the buildings. While almost all of the workers' and middle income flat buildings described are still operating, only one city luxury flat building is still standing. This thesis explores a little-researched yet important topic. It exemplifies the diversity of the early history of the residential flat building in Sydney in all three of its forms between 1887 and 1914.
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