Tuesday, September 29, 2015

City Planning, Perth 1965-1967 by Paul Ritter

P. 79 of this fascinating tour de force. I'll put aside the typification of internal reserves as 'Radburn greens' for another day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

McAdam Reserve, Northcote, Victoria

This is almost certainly an ad-hoc space created by the demolition of some building or other – probably, given the space’s onetime working class status, a small backlane business – I’m thinking a dairy or something similar. In any case, it is not a ‘classic’ internal reserve given that it has access by one footpath from Stanley Street, but then also by two laneways which could technically allow vehicle access (though there’s nowhere for a vehicle to actually stop). It was almost certainly not a part of the original plan for the area.

The playground is very well stocked. Barbeque, climbing equipment, etc. What is most interesting from our point of view is that on the Saturday morning I visited, it was occupied by the perfect users: five children, four adults, the adults almost certainly being parents to the children. Two backyard gates were open into the space, suggesting that these users were very local (I should have asked them. I didn’t want to intrude on families enjoying a shared and semi-private resource).

I’ll go back at another time and see what other uses it might have. All surrounding properties have high fences, suggesting there is no particular surveillance going on here. But otherwise, a very fine example – the kind of IR we’d like to see.

See it on google maps here

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hartlands Road Internal Reserve, East Ivanhoe, Victoria

This small reserve is triangular in shape and is located behind houses built on typical suburban allotments in the affluent suburb of East Ivanhoe, above the Yarra River in suburban Melbourne.  Its shape results from it being bounded by Hartlands Road, Lower Heidelberg Road and the gentle curve of Withers Street.
This area was part of the 313 acre Hartlands Estate, originally purchased by Sylvester John Brown, the father of novelist, “Rolf Boldrewood”, and only slowly succumbed to the auctioneer’s hammer in the middle of the 20th century when Burke Road North was pushed through to meet Lower Heidelberg Road.
However the frontages to Lower Heidelberg Road appear to have been sold by the 1930s as the majority of houses here date from late in this decade, while one house, in Hartland Road, is a Californian bungalow and may well date to the late 1920s.
The radial pattern of streets centred on the vegetated roundabout at East Ivanhoe, although incomplete, is distinctive.  The Heidelberg Conservation Study says that Peter Tuxen designed part of the nearby Chelsworth Estate in 1902 and it is possible that this area was also his work or that of his nephew, Saxil Tuxen, who is well known for providing internal reserves in his geometrically patterned subdivisional designs.   To the immediate north are the Mount Eagle Summit Estate (1914) and the Glenard Estate (1916) which were designed by Walter Burley Griffin for landowner and developer, Peter Keam, and which featured internal reserves.  Saxil Tuxen worked with Griffin on the Ranelagh Estate, Mt Eliza, in 1924 and there is a further connection with the Sharp family, timber merchants of South Melbourne who lived in Ivanhoe, who were connected with Tuxen’s Park Orchards subdivision.
The reserve is approached by a narrow “neck” from Hartlands Road, across which is a wire gate with the City Of Banyule logo on it, suggesting that, unlike Griffin’s Eaglemont Estates, this one is owned by the municipality.   12 houses abutting the park proper have access to it via back gates, while another four properties have access via the “neck”.  This leaves half a dozen properties in the block- on the corners- having no direct access.  The useless acute point at the north end reveals a shortcoming of the triangular design.
Fenced boundaries are universal, however, in the park proper, there are some transparent fence types and dense plantings conceal some of the boundary fences, resulting in a very pleasant ambience.  The “neck” is used for car access to abutting properties and it is possible to gain others by driving across the park, however this does not seem to be done in practice and the reserve is given over to a broad grassy sward with tree cover and native shrub beds.
The reserve is in excellent condition and is very well maintained, with much evidence of revegetation having taken place in recent years.  The central area appears to be used for children’s games and there are several seats and tables, which suggest common usage by the residents, as does a wok-shaped hotplate for a fire pit.  There are several stacks of firewood, which may be for this or for the residents’ own home fires.  Significantly, there is a ride-on mowing machine under a cover, which suggests that the residents themselves maintain the grass in this attractive and successful internal park reserve.

Steven Barlow September 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Robinson Rd, Chambers St, Blackburn St, Jackson St, Youngstown Ohio

An article by Harvey Whipple entitled '281 Fireproof Dwellings Built of Large Precast Concrete Units' was published in Concrete January 1918 and reprinted in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built also edited by Whipple and published by Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co. of Denver in 1920. It focuses on this small estate in East Youngstown, Ohio:

Whipple writes that this is in many respects 'the most impressive industrial housing development in America' (p. 46). Most of Whipple's text is concerned with the method of construction, but he does reflect on some elements of the layout of the scheme, which the astute observer will note is divided into housing for 'Foreign Labor' and 'Negro Labor'. He remarks that 'the later group, for negro labor' is 'practically shut off by the arrangement of the streets from the group first erected, for foreign labor.' He has more to say about the 'Negro Labor' houses which is very interesting from the internal reserves POV, thus:

In the construction of the second group of houses, for negro labor, the plans were reversed, making what was the front of the houses in the first group, the rear of the houses in the second group. This was done for the purpose of making the swellings of this colony face entirely upon themselves in a separate rectangle, and for economy in service features, such as pavements. (p. 50).

Here is the estate on Google Map; I've reoriented it to reflect the plan in Whipple's article. As can be seen, only part of the 'Negro Labor' estate was built (or is extant). The 'Foreign Labor' section does contain spaces reminiscent of internal reserves (I've taken a few screen shots from google map and inserted them above), but with street access whereas the 'Negro Labor' section, for reasons explained above, does not. 

The 'Negro Labor' section was, as mentioned, either not built in full or has been decimated somewhat, but I have taken a couple of screen shots from Chambers Street and Booker Avenue which seem to show firstly the houses looking into 'Block No. 3' and the street frontage of houses.

The image below is on p. 45 of the article; it's difficult to be certain what it represents but these house frontages are reminiscent of the 'Block No. 3' houses above.

There is more information on this estate and current (well, 2013) moves to preserve its built fabric here.
The google maps link is here

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Leikkikenttä, Mäyrätie, 33430, near Vuorentausta and Tampere, Finland