With Eurovision looming, we’ll soon see the clips of home cities, showcasing the very best that each country has to offer. Those short snapshot videos can show some great architecture, and when you think of all the countries that enter, there are some marvellous monuments; the leaning tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis and many more.
With so many styles of architecture celebrated throughout the Eurovision countries, we thought we’d take a look at the styles of houses, which would you give 12 points to, or heaven forbid, nil points?
As such a large country, it’s not exactly surprising that Australian architecture is thoroughly diverse, from farm houses, to cosmopolitan high rises, however there are a few themes that run throughout each state. Fencing, a rather strange albeit prevalent feature, can be seen heavily used in many Australian homes, this is due to influences from the UK and the USA. Whilst the UK styles used elsewhere have since been found to be unsympathetic to Australian climates, so adaptations to interior temperature controls, insulation and glazing have since been made. You’ll also find that balconies and verandas are used in many homes throughout Australia, to enjoy the mild, warm winters.
In a complete contrast to Australia, Austria made their first appearance in Eurovision way back in 1957. Austrian houses are synonymous with rolling green hills, the picture perfect image of the sound of music. Whilst there are of course more modern houses in the towns and cities, we thought we’d take a look at the traditional style.
Austrian style houses use a rich façade coupled with porches and spacious balconies which often run the width of the home to create that postcard image. Typically these houses have been built into the mountains, built entirely or partially from wood, with outdoor spaces that open out to splendid views and decorated with hanging baskets for a decorative twist.
When you think of Greece, the instant image of the housing there is beautiful white houses, a stark contrast to the blue skies and oceans, a thoroughly tranquil scene. These homes are typical of the Cycladic islands, where houses were painted white to reflect the harsh summer sun. Whilst these homes reflect the sun, they are also well insulated often using a combination of wood, mud, hay and ash cement. On the older homes, it is worth noting that the pretty white façade is not actually paint, but an asbestos, as white paint wasn’t mass produced before 1905-1915. It’s also typical of Greek houses to bring the outdoors in, this allows practicality and to enjoy the typically warm weather.
The country of volcanos, geysers and glaciers, the landscape certainly has a lot to offer in Iceland. What you might not know is that the forests and countryside of Iceland hold another secret; Icelandic turf houses. These homes almost look like something out of a Tolkein novel, but were the product of a difficult climate and are said to offer superior insulation in comparison to dwellings made solely of wood or stone.
The standard turf house would see a foundation of flat stones, with a wooden frame built upon this. The turf would then be fitted around the frame in blocks. The only external woodwork would be the door, often with a decorative appeal, and on occasion the floor. When wooden floors weren’t placed, you would see stone or earth used. This style of home can also be seen in Norway, where some structures were originally built with turf roofs, and it isn’t a million miles away from a traditional English thatched cottage when you think about it.
Traditionally, Norwegian homes were built with small rooms in order to keep in the warmth, essential when you consider the inclement weather they receive! The steep roofs were also designed to help the snow slide off. The windows were again small as the glass would let out the heat, and you’d usually see a fire or wood oven in the centre of the house to warm the entire home.
As seen in Iceland, it was common for Norwegian houses to grow grass on the roofs. As cottage roofs were made out of tree bark, turf was required to hold it in place, this would be exceptionally pretty during the summer months when the grass and weeds would shoot and flower. The turf was also a great insulation as it would keep the cottage warm during winter and cool during summer.
The houses are mostly built with wood so that they can move with the weather, it’s rare to see a brick house, although there was a trend for this in the 70’s, as the bricks are prone to water damage and crack in the Norwegian climate (costing more to insure).
As Norway is a large producer of slate, you’ll see many slate roofs as it’s both durable and easy to replace.
The Netherlands sees a wide range of characterful homes, from windmills to house boats and everything in between. One house that may come to mind is the typical Dutch canal house. These have a very narrow frontage with a steeply pitched gable.
These houses are often slim, high and deep and because of the risk of flooding, the front door is usually raised with steps above street level.
Due to the local commerce and high trade routes, these homes would often have a basement or attic used for the storage of goods and whilst these architectural classics are still around today, they are more used for commercial or museum purposes than as residential abodes.
Whilst we don’t currently have any homes with grass on the roof, or mountain side alpine lodges, we do have a wide variety of homes currently on the market, to search simply visit our website or call our branches directly to inform us of your requirements.
Ash Vale – email@example.com – 01252 353030
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