2010 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Queensland Children’s Hospital
Joint venture with Lyons
The Queensland Children’s Hospital is a 359 bed tertiary/quaternary hospital currently under construction in inner city Brisbane. The hospital is a State Government initiative and forms the hub of a state-wide network of paediatric services for Queensland’s population of 4.5 million. Brisbane’s subtropical climate has provided a reference point for the environmental approach taken in the design expressed externally by extensive sunshading and internally by the tree and branch structure which allows the building to breathe. A significant new public open space provides a forecourt to the building which is expected to become a city landmark.
The Queensland Children’s Hospital building has a large footprint and a pattern of generous public space brings light and views deep into the building. This anatomy of vertical and horizontal spaces provides a coherent logic to navigating the facility with cues to intuitive way-finding.
2000 DECADE KEY PROJECT
St. Stephen’s Cathedral Development, 2001
In 2001, only three years before re-branding to Conrad Gargett Architecture, the firm won the prestigious commission for the development of St. Stephen’s Cathedral on Elizabeth Street. Designed by Lawrence Toaldo, CGA proposed additions are deliberately reverent towards the existing mid 19th century sandstone cathedral by being placed at a distance from it. The space in-between the cathedral and the newly proposed glass and sandstone building contains a symbolic tribute to the life of St Stephen known as the River of Stone. Adjacent the River of Stone is a Loggia forecourt to the new building.
1990 DECADE KEY PROJECT
State Law Building, 1993
Of all of the architecture by CGR in the Central Business District, the State Law building or “Gotham City”, as it is fondly called, on the corner of Ann Street and George Street is perhaps most well known. Designed by Sipen Rojnavibul, the State Law building was a refurbishment of Comalco House, a 25 storey commercial building designed by Conrad, Gargett and Partners Pty Ltd in 1977. In 1993, the owners of the building approached the firm with a new brief.
The brief involved upgrading services and amenities, including plant facilities, as well as giving the building a new identity. One of the significant skilful strategies employed was to reclad the building from the top down. The innovative system of façade construction significantly reduced the disruption to the existing building tenants whilst increasing the actual floor area that could be leased. Another benefit was the concealing of the plant facilities with a new Gotham City style “crown” which has become an iconic element in Brisbane’s skyline. Stone. Adjacent the River of Stone is a Loggia forecourt to the new building.
1980 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Head Office, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, 1989
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s head office on the corner of Queen Street and Edward Street was designed by Sipen Rojnavibul. Sipen is one of a handful of female architects who has successfully designed high rise towers in Australia. Her design for the 32 storey bank office building with three level podium, was selected as winner of an invited competition, in part because of its original fan-shaped planning form. Unlike rectilinear plan form towers, the curved form enables the building to respond to its important corner site, aiming to welcome customers and generate street activity. In addition, the design of its interior spaces, in particular its banking chamber, is exceptional. The use of light, colour and strong forms generates a powerful corporate image. Sipen’s design was made possible by an architectural team of which Ian Charlton was Director in charge.
1970 DECADE KEY PROJECT
S.G.I.O. Office Building and Theatre, 1971
Keith Frost designed the 28 storey head office tower with separate theatre, on the corner of Albert Street and Turbot Street, for the State Government Insurance Office. (S.G.I.O., later Suncorp). The complex is another example of CGR’s steel frame and concrete façade architecture. The most critical design strategy for the project is the direct north-south orientation of the tower with balconies to protect windows. In order to accommodate a tower which sits on an angle to the city grid, the land previously occupied by Albert Hall was acquired. This made way for an award winning plaza forecourt with fountain. In compensation, the client gave back to the community a medium size theatre which became Brisbane’s most significant theatre venue until the Queensland Performing Arts Complex was built.
1960 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Block 7, Royal Brisbane Hospital, 1968-1977
Block 7 is one of many buildings at the Royal Brisbane Hospital designed by Conrad Gargett Riddel and its earlier partnership forms. It is arguably the most iconic building in the complex, located on the corner of Herston Road and Bowen Bridge Road. Originally designed in 1968, Block 7 consists of a ten-storey L-shaped plan tower resting atop a four-storey podium decorated with concrete sunshades. At the time the original building was completed in 1977, its interiors were in keeping with the aesthetic of the time, using timber veneers and bold murals. Block 7 has outlived its original function but interestingly, the building fabric, designed to provide maximum flexibility to suit the rapid changes in health care, was only recently refurbished by CGA. Russell Henderson was a consultant to the team working on the refurbishment and was the Site Architect for the original building.
1950 DECADE KEY PROJECT
The Women’s College, 1958
The Women’s College on College Road was the first residential house for females only at the University of Queensland’s St. Lucia campus. It was a winning competition entry designed by Keith Frost. Frost, who later became a Partner, then a Director of Conrad, Gargett and Partners Pty Ltd, designed the complex of buildings to include three two storey dormitory wings. In the first stage, only one dormitory wing was built. Placed on the contoured site overlooking the playing fields, the dormitory was joined by a glass walkway to a main block. The main block consists of a dining room, administrative offices and staff accommodation. Breaking away from previous styles of architecture produced in the office. The Women’s College is designed in a utilitarian, modernist style. The highly efficient dormitory room planning was reused in the building of more student accommodation.
1940 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Magnus Hall, Anglican Church Grammar School, 1949
Since becoming Diocesan architects for the Anglican Church in 1917, CGA has designed many of the buildings at the Anglican Church Grammar School. Along with the School House and the Chapel, Magnus Hall on Oaklands Parade is one of the more exceptional. Magnus Hall is an L-shaped three storey classroom building which frames a formal forecourt. Originally designed in 1935 by T. B. F. Gargett in a neo-Gothic style, Stage 2 of Magnus Hall was completed in 1949. The building plan is only one classroom deep. Each classroom is well lit and opens on one side to a covered Gothic style red brick arched verandah. The brickwork is contrasted to two different designs of ornamental white rendered balustrade. Like the Somerville House Library, Magnus Hall is decorated with brick buttresses and gargoyles. Its posterior façade is broken by a delicately proportioned bay window element.
1930 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Sommerville House Library, 1934
In 1939, after H. W. Atkinson retired, T. B. F. Gargett who had worked for the firm since 1914 became a partner and the practice changed its name to A. H. Conrad & T. B. F. Gargett. One of Gargett’s earliest designs is the Somerville House Library and Art Studio – the latter built in a later stage. The design consisted of a rectangular library room and an octagonal reference library/reading room with balcony over. The interior had Jacobian style features such as the twisted timber balustrades and the design of the chairs.
Perched over Vulture Street, the library was designed in late 14th century English Gothic architectural style. Gargett was introduced to the style by his English colleague, D. Wales. The building is characteristic of the style with its lancet windows, brick buttressing and gargoyles. The cathedral-like quality of the library facilitated its seamless conversion to school chapel in 1994.
1920 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Craigston Apartments, 1928
After the sudden death of McLay, Arnold Henry Conrad, who had worked for Atkinson and McLay since 1912, was appointed partner in the firm which was renamed H. W. Atkinson and A. H. Conrad Architects. Conrad brought to the practice many skills and interests, the most notable being his love of Spanish Mission style architecture which is highly appropriate for the Brisbane climate. Of the many buildings he designed and built in the style, the Craigston apartments on Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill is the most exceptional. The seven storey block of flats, as they were originally termed, displays many features of the style in its façade design. These include the curvilinear parapets, tile roof, exposed corner rafters and arched windows. The interior planning is also influenced by the Spanish Mission style. Perched high over Brisbane, the apartments capture magnificent views of the city, as does its roof terrace.
1910 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Trades and Labour Hall, 1919
Previously located on Upper Edward Street, the Trades and Labour Hall was completed in 1919. Designed for the Trades and Labour Council by Chas McLay, the four storey building was in the Classical style and included six large Doric columns in its front façade. The Classical style was typical for civic works of that time but applied in this instance, it aimed to signify the elevated status of the Labour unions.
The building was home to a diverse range of Labour unions who met for fiery meetings in its upper storey hall. Offices were located on the lower level. The Hall was innovative for its time because it featured, in its tower, a freestanding reinforced concrete staircase around a lift core. In the original design, the tower included a cupola on the top, an element which harked back to the firm’s earlier fire stations. Unfortunately, the cupola was not built. The building was demolished in 1985.
1900 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Ithaca Council Chambers, c1909
In 1907, Charles (Chas) McLay left the staff of the Government Architect and joined Atkinson. The firm then changed to H. W. Atkinson and Chas McLay. The two were in partnership until 1918. Of the work they produced during this time, the Ithaca Council Chambers on the corner of Enoggera Terrace and Kennedy Terrace in Paddington is noteworthy because it marks McLay’s contribution to the change in the firm’s design direction. The design shows McLay’s input with its large, hipped roof which covers a red brick building with white banding. This style became known as “blood and bandage” architecture. The building includes minimal ornamentation. The two main ornamental features are a white Doric column which marks the entry and an Etruscan arch window. With the shift in local government away from small suburban councils, Ithaca Council Chambers has changed use. Now called Ithaca Hall, the building operates today as a small function centre.
1890 DECADE KEY PROJECT
Brisbane Fire Station, 1890
Conrad Gargett Architecture, as it is known today, began in 1890 as the architectural practice of previously Government architect, Henry Wallace Atkinson (1866-1938). In 1889 under the name “Ready aye ready”, the motto of the fire brigade at that time, Atkinson submitted an entry for the new Head Fire Station located on the corner of Ann Street and Edward Street, Brisbane. After winning the competition, he left the public service to set up his own private practice. Completed in December 1890, but now demolished, the three storey fire station included a tower from which fireman would watch for fires and ring the bell to alert the brigade.