Verandahs are out, 'eskie' homes are in

The verandah is decreasing in popularity even though it has many benefits for the tropical Australian home. 

Homeowners are choosing 'eskie' homes to increase interior floor space.  

'Eskie' homes are enclosed, air-conditioned brick homes with little outdoor room on the front, back or sides in tropical regions. 

James Cook Univeristy student Jayne Thompson found in her thesis that street-facing verandahs had all but vanished.

She said the verandah was also a crucial element in tropical architecture due to its passive cooling properties.

Mr Thompson's research found residents overwhelmingly agreed the verandah helped people interact and built a more social environment.

They also said the front verandah encourages parents to let their children play outside, which is known to be beneficial for childhood development.

"Unfortunately while many of these advantages are underappreciated and not widely promoted, but they also come at a cost," she said. 

"The financial cost of approximately $5,000 to $8,000 per verandah is simply too much for some homebuyers who might prefer to maximise interior floor space."

Ms Thompson said to promote more dwellings to voluntarily include front verandahs, the Queensland Development Code could include open front verandahs as one of the many setback exemptions.

This would mean that people could chose to add a front verandah to their dwelling without sacrificing indoor living space.

"For decades now, modern residential developments have ignored Townsville's building heritage and favoured homogenous brick boxes, which require excessive mechanical cooling and isolate residents," she said. 

"But it's time that the front verandah made its comeback."

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