Brisbane boasts of some beautiful pieces of historical architecture ranging from quaint Queenslander Houses to grand public buildings, some of which were featured in the February issue of Home Review. But apart from these traditional structures, the city has also kept its date with modern design in the form of architecture, art and some contemporary urban interventions.
The best place to begin explorations is at the city’s iconic namesake sign, which forms the perfect foreground to its fast evolving skyline. The sign was originally put up temporarily as part of a G20 summit, but thanks to growing popularity with residents and visitors alike, now has a permanent home.
Behind the sign is the sprawling Queensland Cultural Centre with the city’s premier galleries and art venues, all designed as a cohesive precinct in the 1980s by Robin Gibson and Partners. The buildings here are considered to be one of Australia’s most successful experimentations with Brutalist architecture – a movement that was characterized by hulking, fortress-like structures and exposed concrete construction. Prominent amongst the structures are the Queensland Performing Arts Centre that incorporates four theatres within its stepped form.
Two contemporary buildings that have been added to the Queensland Cultural Centre are the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, both of which were opened in the last decade. These form a welcome addition to the built forms within the Cultural Centre and are a testimony to Brisbane’s evolving experiments with modern architecture.
Right across the Cultural Centre is the delightful Kurilpa Bridge by Cox Rayner Architects and Arup. It is the world’s largest bridge to be based on the principles of tensegrity, with a balance between compressive and tensile structural members. While the bridge might appear rather informal, its cables in tension and tubes in compression are in structural rhythm, providing immense strength and a unique addition to Brisbane’s cityscape.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia And Shuvajit Payne