Brisbane's best architecture on show in book

Danielle Cronin December 17, 2011

It appears architects are like most parents – too diplomatic to name their favourite child.

Professor Philip Goad and Associate Professor Julie Willis, both from the University of Melbourne, have edited the Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture.

The 800-page tome is billed as the “first compendium published of Australian architecture from the earliest times to the present day".

Among the many Queensland buildings featured are Brisbane's “regency style” Government House and the South Brisbane Town Hall, which “introduced new stylistic possibility deploying a bold and urbanistic eclecticism”.

“These are some of the many great examples of Australian architecture featured in the Encyclopedia,” Professor Goad said.

“The book also profiles leading Australian architects and building styles as well as looking at construction materials, influences the development of the profession and many other aspects of the built environment.”

brisbanetimes.com.au asked the editors to nominate Brisbane's best building.

After conferring, the duo was unwilling to choose only one.

“There's Rex Addison's beautiful home-studio (1999) in Taringa or M3 Architecture's luscious red digitally designed and terra-cotta tile clad Micro-Health Laboratory at University of Queensland's Gatton campus (2001). Or perhaps for a classic, just choose Addison's 'Cumbooqueepa' (1892), one of the city's finest climate-responsive houses of the 19th century,” according to the editors.

The light-timber truss 'igloo' hangars that date from World War II, some of which can still be found at Archerfield and Eagle Farm, are also among their favourites.

The buildings were designed by French-born Emile Brizay, an engineer-architect brought to their attention by Brisbane author and “state treasure" Don Watson.

“For us, these exciting structures say a lot about Queensland – timber, invention and sometimes surprisingly unknown – that's the aim of the Encyclopedia, to delve into it and be surprised at what is significant and what's right there on your doorstep,” according to the editors.

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