In 2014 Wilson Architects celebrated 130 years of continuous architectural practice, founded in 1884 and spanning across four generations of the Wilson family.
The link between Wilson Architects and Brisbane’s growth and heritage is inextricable. Take a walk in any Brisbane suburb and chances are you’ll encounter a stately villa, brick home, school building, church, hotel, sports pavilion, health facility or garden landscape that evolved from a Wilson Architects’ blueprint.
In 1959, Blair Wilson (then Managing Director) purchased a high-set ‘Queenslander’ in Brisbane’s run down inner city fringe suburb of Spring Hill as the practice’s office. A significant fire in the building in 1981 required an almost complete rebuild. Since then staff numbers have varied incrementally, increasing from 15 up to 40 with people working on different floors, different buildings, in a fragmented workplace. The solution was to expand into and merge with the neighbouring 1860‘s workers cottage terrace house, originally separated from the office by a 1.8 metre gap.
In Queensland, the detached house creates an often almost unusable space along its side boundaries. The practice wanted to shift from the existing strong association with the original residence and play with the idea of developing a distinct entrance and organising element around this often-neglected interstitial space between the two buildings. This inserted piece completely envelopes the façades of both buildings and allows their history to be legible. The charred remains of the burned timber frame were revealed and celebrated as a direct connection back to the practice’s 1981 fire and forms a visual open screen between the two buildings.
This adaptive re-use and merging of an original Queenslander and a workers cottage terrace house reveals surprises and coincidences. It reinterprets the traditional character of a dwelling into a workplace, allowing the necessary retro-fit of interaction spaces, technology and office spaces.
Studio space, meeting rooms and indoor/outdoor courtyard
Sunday Guided Tours
Times: Rolling tours
Limited wheelchair access
Enjoy a display of historic artefacts from the Wilson Architects' legacy