An Architectural Tour of Brisbane’s CBD
29 February 2012
For a city that really isn’t very old, Brisbane has quite an impressive array of architecture, with some of the big highlights being its early-era creations. With many of the city’s historic buildings undergoing renovations over the past 10 or 20 years, Brisbane has begun to embrace its history through its incredible architecture, with even some of the older apartments in Brisbane being restored to their former glory. The following are some of the standout architectural highlights of Brisbane’s CBD.
Brisbane City Hall
This heritage-listed building was once the tallest building in Brisbane. Built in 1920, it is considered to be of the Italian Renaissance architectural style, and includes a 92-metre clock tower. Still a popular venue for free concerts and public events, Brisbane City Hall is considered by many Brisbanians to be the heart of the city.
This fantastic building is one of the real architectural highlights of Brisbane, and was built in 1889. Now owned by the University of Queensland, this beautiful building is the home of the Summer Concert Series put on by the university, as well as one of this city’s most sought after venues for weddings, functions and private parties. Located right beside the river in downtown Brisbane and famous for its magnificent Corinthian columns, this is one of those places you must visit when in Brisbane.
St. Andrew’s Uniting Church
This fabulous building was built in 1904 as a Presbyterian Church, and has been a prominent Brisbane landmark ever since. With its towering spires, beautiful arches and striking red brick, St. Andrew’s has been one of the city’s most recognisable buildings for over a century.
Old Government House
A short walk from the City Botanical Gardens is one of Queensland’s most significant heritage listed buildings, Old Government House. Built in 1862, this historic building has been around since the early days of the city and has been used as an administrative and social centre for 150 years. After being the vice regal residence for almost 50 years, Old Government House became part of the University of Queensland in 1909, with its first classes held in 1911. This fantastic architectural marvel consists of a series of arches and columns, and following major renovations, celebrated its rebirth by winning the John Dalton Award for building of the year in 2010.
St. John’s Cathedral
Fans of Gothic architecture will love this magnificent building, which has taken over a hundred years to complete. Considered to be of French Gothic influence, the construction has continued over three stages, with the result being an exquisite example of the work of famous church architect, John Loughborough Pearson. If you like super-high ceilings and towering columns, make sure you pay a visit to St. John’s next time you are roaming around Brisbane.
Cathedral of St. Stephen
Considered a cornerstone of Brisbane’s Catholic community, St. Stephen’s took 58 years to build, between the years 1864 and 1922, and had renovations done in 1989. Designed by Benjamin Backhouse, this grand building project had to be downsized several times due to financial constraints, though the end product proved spectacular. With two sandstone towers topped by intricate spires and stained glass windows imported from Munich, this building is considered a ‘Gothic revival cathedral’ and is well worth a visit if you are at all interested in architecture.
It has taken a while, but people are starting to wake up to the fact that Brisbane is in fact quite an architecturally impressive city, and it’s mostly thanks to its old school buildings. For a great way to spend your next holiday, check into one of the beautiful serviced apartments in Brisbane, and spend a bit of time wandering the downtown core and appreciating some of this city’s splendid creations.