The traditional Queenslander is under pressure to hold its place in Brisbane’s architecture files as modern home styles consolidate their popularity.
Brisbane City Council has recently opened debate through an online forum on what aspects of the Queenslander – and other traditional home styles – should be valued and protected.
Already 100,000 residents have had their say in one of the council’s most popular online forums.
Overall, the feedback could help develop a Character Housing Design Guide for Brisbane.
Until December 31, the Character Design Forum lets residents enter characteristics about Queenslanders that should be maintained when updates to these homes are considered by council’s planning teams.
“The intention of this is to provide a design discussion for residents themselves about the value of Queenslanders and other traditional designs in the city,” Brisbane City Council's Design Brisbane manager, Omar Barragan, said.
“The feedback from the design forum will be analysed and a set of design principles will be published early next year.
“These principles will guide the management of those important assets.
“It could lead to the development of a Character Housing Design Guide, amendments to the City Plan or create processes and tools that could create better outcomes for the city.”
The design guide will be made public in April 2019.
The forum was canvassed at Brisbane City Council meeting on Tuesday.
It allows residents to upload photographs of amendments to south-east Queensland’s traditional homes that they like or, alternatively, that they do not like.
That can include roof lines, building materials, building styles, or examples where they believe the traditional designs have been either enhanced or compromised.
The site allows comments to be left by residents.
Jennifer, from Hawthorne, writes:
“Queenslanders (as an immigrant to this country) mean Queensland to me.
“The style of the architecture is unique to Queensland. The wide verandas, the raised buildings are ‘design’ for tropical/sub-tropical living. They are both beautiful and practical.”
ASN, from Brisbane, writes
“As another person commented, clusters or larger tracts of character housing is great, with this being characteristic of many older parts of Brisbane. It needs to be kept this way.
“A problem arises when in a predominantly character housing area a block is split, either (side by side or battle-axe), or a small house on two titles is moved to one side or removed totally, and the vacant land has a non-sympathetically designed house erected on it.”
“We end up with a street of character housing with an odd sprinkling of long, narrow up-down houses of blocky modern design (to maximise site coverage). This truly detracts from the character nature of these districts.”
The site allows you to visit as many times as you like and to take part in exercise and debates over style amendments and ideas, using both samples from architects and real examples from around Brisbane.
“It is not just talking about the architectural qualities of the design of the houses,” Mr Barragan said.
“We are talking about the character itself of the street.
“The landscaping and all the design features.”
That included roofs, fencing, garages, windows, doors, garages and additions to the original homes.
“It is an opportunity for residents to learn a little bit more about their own houses and to inform themselves about how this transformation actually occurs," he said.
The Character Design Forum website can be accessed here.
About the Queenslander.
The housing type began in the 1840s and there are many styles of Queenslander.
- They are mostly timber residential homes, although some businesses have styled as Queenslanders.
- They are traditionally raised on timber stumps, 2.8 metres above the ground.
- The Queenslander has a verandah, frequently on two or more sides.
- The underfloor section is often "decoratively" surrounded by timber battens.
- The main living areas of the home are on a single floor, frequently with a hall that divides bedrooms from living areas.
- The Queenslander has a steeply pitched roof, traditionally sheeted with corrugated iron.
- Architects refer to Ashgrovian, Federation, colonial and inter-war Queenslanders, each with their own style elements.