Architecture 2017-08-14T16:23:35+00:00

ARCHITECTURE

When it was built, Wentworth Villa quite literally stood out from the rest of pioneer Victoria, which at that time still consisted mainly of crudely built, single-storey log and plank structures. Perched on a hill surrounded by Garry Oak meadows, a 20-minute walk from town, the Villa was a pinnacle of architectural refinement and taste. Beautifully designed, well proportioned, with many fine details, it had very few competitors for the title of the most charming house in town.

Restoration

Methodically done over a three year period, Wentworth Villa has been fully restored.

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The Architects

The architects of Wentworth Villa are most probably Wright and Sanders, the first professional architects in Victoria. A one-time tender call from their office for “A Suburban Residence” was published in March of 1863, calling for separate tenders for “Mason and Brick Work; Plasterer’s work; Plumbers and tinsmiths; and Painter’s and Glazier’s work.” It is likely that this tender call – at the right time relating to the property transactions – was for Wentworth Villa, though no official documentation survives linking the home to the architects.

However, the design of the house goes beyond a carpenter’s skills. The finishes, entrance hall and floor plan attest to a skilled planner. Additionally there are woodwork details that match those in other known Wright and Sanders designed homes, so an educated choice of the authorship of the design would strongly suggest that Wright and Sanders were indeed the architects of Wentworth Villa.

In 1867 the office of Wright and Sanders moved to San Francisco where they established a very successful practice with around 100 significant commissions such as churches and numerous residences in the ornate High Victorian eclectic style. Sadly, most of their San Francisco work was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Carpenter Gothic

Carpenter Gothic is a North American domestic architectural style, which stems from Gothic Revival architecture. The term refers to the use of wood as a building material that became one of its main characteristics in timber-rich North America. The availability of scroll saw (fret saw) contributed to its popularity. More common in country settings than in towns (as its alternative American name Rural Gothic indicates) Carpenter Gothic was primarily used in ecclesiastical and residential structures.

The style enthusiastically, but also sometimes naively used the most common detailing and picturesque motifs from Gothic Revival architecture. Hallmarks of Carpenter Gothic incorporated in the design of Wentworth Villa include: a symmetrical plan with a central front door, pierced bargeboards, steeply-pitched roofs, and pointed windows – one with stained glass – high in the central gables illuminating the attic. Other windows are tall, double-hung and small paned: six over six on the upper floor; four over four on the main floor