Observations about places, planning and architecture, as I accompany client RobertsDay on the Great Places Tour 2013. More detailed posts, with video, will appear at www.robertsday.com.au.

There aren't many contemporary homes in Seaside, but that's not because they aren't allowed to be there. What's interesting is that while the architectural code does allow for different expression, it hasn't, by and large, occurred. One house, however, stands out. Designed by Walter Chatham, it's been added to since originally built. Back in the day, it was a plan of two simple pavilions, connected by a timber deck.

It's the best bit of architecture I've seen here," says one of the tour, "and no, not because it's modern."

His point is that this home, unlike so many of the others, is actually a better response to the climate. A key reason is that the veranda or screened porch of the more traditional homes, has only one aspect, and is right up against the wall. The effect is to make that area hot, and to have ventilation from only one direction.

In contrast, the Dog Trot House, as it's known, has a breezeway that allows cross ventilation from multiple directions - and as we're standing here in the muggy heat of summer, that's definitely a good thing. But here's the kicker - how uneducated am I! - the Dog Trot house isn't as I thought, just the cute name for this lovely house; it's actually the name of a housing typology.

Apparently the dog-trot is also known as a breezeway house, dog-run or possum-trot, and was popular in southeast US through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically, they consisted of two log cabins connected by a breezeway all under a common roof. One cabin was typically used for cooking and dining and the other for sleeping, and the way they opened to the breezeway combined with their windows pulled cool air into the living areas without the need for mechanical cooling.       

It's nice to know that the architects on the tour spotted all that at a glance.

AuthorAmanda Falconer