Brisbane’s Architectural Icons

Australia is currently enjoying a cultural renaissance at the hands of the nation’s talented architects. At the recent World Architecture Festival, thirty-seven Australian projects were shortlisted for the 2015 awards.

While many of the projects nominated were completed by Australian architects on foreign soil, there are also plenty of local projects in the running to receive prestigious recognition. Perhaps the most notable project for architecturally savvy Brisbanites is the prolific Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane, which boasts a colourful façade and playful design well suited to its young visitors.

Traditionally, Brisbane’s architectural prowess has fallen slightly short of big ticket projects in Sydney and Melbourne, like the iconic Opera House in Sydney Harbour and the somewhat divisive Federation Square in Melbourne. However, Brisbane has critical architectural successes icons of its own. Here we delve into a mere sample of what our city has to offer.

Queensland’s Cultural Precinct

Designed by influential architect Robin Gibson and completed in stages over more than a decade, the Queensland Performing Arts Complex, Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery and The
Edge at the State Library form an important cultural and architectural hub for Brisbane.

In recent years, concerned community members have fought off plans to erect high-rise extensions on top of existing buildings.  The precinct has now been given a heritage listing, much to the relief of architectural activists who saw the proposed towers as a threat to the architect’s original intention in highlighting Brisbane’s stunning mountain backdrop to the west.

The Windmill on Spring Hill
Built on literal blood, sweat and tears, Brisbane’s oldest building is a very important heritage marker
for our harsh penal colony past. The Windmill is one of only two buildings to survive the infamous Moreton Bay penal settlement, and holds a grisly past as a punishing aspect of convict life.

With its distinctive circular design, the tower is made of rendered stone and brick, and offers a welcome contrast to the modern glass structures that dominate Brisbane’s office district.

Ecosciences Precinct
This sustainable design was completed in 2010 and brings together more than 1000 scientists into a single collaborative research environment. Aside from promoting cutting-edge scientific progress, the Precinct has brought a host of architectural awards knocking, including recognition from the Australian Institute of Architects in the national, Queensland and Brisbane divisions.

Nestled beside the iconic Boggo Road Prison, the Ecosciences Precinct’s distinctive design sits in an elevated position enjoying sweeping views of Brisbane’s eclectic southside skyline.

Translational Research Institute
This compelling piece of work has a façade of shimmering colours, reflecting the brilliant sunsets Brisbane delivers. Completed in 2012, the TRI — as it is usually known — is now one of the tallest buildings in the busy PA Hospital precinct. One of the most memorable features of the TRI is its plush atrium area, a piazza opening to the outside world, offering respite from the traditionally clinical hospital environment. Much like Ecosciences Precinct, the TRI plays a vital role in encouraging scientific collaboration and innovation in biomedical research.