Brisbane’s architecture has changed drastically in the past 100-plus years. From the early timber and tin cottages, to the war service homes of the 1950s, to the orange brick of the 1970s and the modern masterpieces of today – the Queensland capital has carved out its own distinct style of property. Domain brings you the last in our series of articles examining the evolution of Brisbane’s architecture, how each style has its place in time and what you need to know if you want to own one.
By the year 2010, the
inner city of Brisbane was on the cusp of being cool again.
However, the floods of 2011 stymied its evolution when the Brisbane River broke its banks once more and caused buyers and renters to temporarily reconsider where they wanted to live.
“People started rethinking which parts of Brisbane were ‘really good suburbs’ because often riverfront suburbs were just considered to be good real estate,” Bees Nees City Realty managing director Rob Honeycombe said.
“There was a whole generation of home owners who weren’t around when the floods happened last time, particularly with so many people having moved to Brisbane over that period of time.”
Thankfully, that point of view didn’t last long, and within a few years city-fringe suburbs would undergo a metamorphosis after thousands of new apartments were built in suburbs such as South Brisbane, Newstead and Fortitude Valley.
In fact, data shows the number of rental properties in the inner city increased by about 60 per cent in just eight years, Mr Honeycombe said.
So, decades after residents left the inner city for the suburbs, the central city became the place to be once more.
Mr Honeycombe said one of the biggest changes has also been the demographics of people living in the city’s new developments.
“It used to be that
apartment living particularly was for pre-kids and now it’s pre-kids, with kids, and after kids – I mean, everyone,” he said.
“I think there’s a whole generation of home owners now that are probably in their 30s that are just never going to move to the ‘burbs the way people did 20 years ago.
“They’re just saying, “I won’t compromise, I won’t do the commute, I’m prepared to take my kid to the park instead of having a back yard’.”
He said the variety of apartment stock available had also attracted older generations wanting to make the most of the plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants that had reignited suburbs which were previously a bit unloved.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said the decade from 2010 saw social values also become more dominant in property design, construction and fit-outs with water tanks common as well as energy-efficient appliances.
The era of smart houses also emerged as did al fresco living and minimalism, he said.
“The 2010s was the rise of the start of minimalism, so a lot of hard surfaces, floorboards and tiles throughout homes,” Mr McCrindle said.
“There was a lot more manufactured stone benchtops in kitchens and bathrooms. We went back to tin roofs, so the corrugated iron roofs, stainless steel appliances were big, [and] glass splashbacks.
“There was this real minimalism, glass-and-steel sort of look to our homes.”
However, the invasion of technology into all aspects of our lives resulted in a push-back within homes with media rooms mostly given the heave-ho.
A sense of community returned to design, Mr McCrindle said, with open-plan living as well as the kitchen being re-established as the centre of the home.
“One key feature was kitchen island benches with breakfast bars, just to allow the family to sit and connect around that kitchen,” he said.
“We saw the lounge/dining just as an open space and a gathering space in the home.”
Mr McCrindle said the next 10 years would likely see a continuation of more compact yet environmentally-aware living, including multiple generations living together.
modular housing design would enable adaptability depending on the demographics of the people living there at each life stage.
While Queensland’s architecture and built environment has changed dramatically since the start of the 20th century, Mr McCrindle said there would always be a timeless element to the spaces we choose call home.
“Homes are an expression of who we are. They’re the place of living out our lifestyle,” he said.
“They facilitate human flourishing, so they will be places of connection, they’ll be places to facilitate or accommodate that social interaction within the household, and they’ll continue to meet that timeless human need.”