Brisbane, QLD

Monday, October 14, 2013


Last weekend there were 71 buildings opened for the public to visit and be taken on tours of the buildings. Sadly, one can't visit 71 buildings in a weekend , so we looked at the list on their webpage and decided to visit a few.

First choice was the old Boggo Rd Gaol, but when we arrived, there was a long queue just to register for a tour later in the day. So, TOH, having an aversion to queues decided it was coffee time instead. There was a coffee shop in the beautiful new building next to the old gaol, which was also open for tours. So after coffee we joined a tour group without queuing for long.

The building is 'Ecosciences Precinct" a $270 million building designed by Hassell. It won awards for architecture and sustainable design principles. Hassell created a highly collaborative environment for scientists dedicated to solving some of Australia's biggest environmental challenges.

There are actually three buildings joined together with atriums.

 Looking up from the foyer you can see how the buildings are connected on each floor. Then we went up there and went into each of the building. Looking down into the atrium was beautiful. There were many seating areas and coffee areas overlooking this relaxing scene. It would be a great place to work.
Thousands of scientists work here covering a varied range of studies all to do with the environment.

 One of the many labs.

One of the many open office spaces.

 From the roof of the building we could see the old gaol and the queue was still there. There is an interesting grey mural on this side. It has many different scenes of the gaol.

 The Ecoscience building was designed by Hassell Architects and interior designers, the same company that our daughter, Carol-Ann works for as a Senior Associate Interior Designer in Sydney. We noticed that the Brisbane Branch of Hassell was open for inspection so we had to visit to see where Carol-Ann works when she comes to the Brisbane Studio.
The building was originally built as Keatings Bread Factory in the late 188o's it has been used for varied occupations since but in 2008 Hassell stripped the building back to its original state and added new buildings in a similar style. The original ovens were exposed and left as a feature.

An interesting sculpture in this open-plan interconnecting studio and gathering spaces for architects, designers and clients. It was an interesting building to see how modern ideas have been integrated within a historical building.

WE tried to visit the old museum building but we couldn't find a park so we continued on to 'The Old Gasworks" which was celebrating its 140th birthday. It was originally built to light the city with gaslights. It is no longer used and the Tank has been removed but the structure has been renovated and the area inside made into a plaza. At night it has a light show turning it into a piece of art. A new building is being constructed behind it. On this side there is a new shopping mall with trendy shops.

We enjoyed the deli, it had a big variety of cheeses. TOH couldn't resist buying his favourite 'Tilsiter".
We had lunch in the mall in a spanish restaurant and then headed home.

The streets of Brisbane are looking beautiful at the moment as the Jacaranda Trees are in bloom.


  1. wow, those blooming trees!

    i like the atrium and the glass walkways. the sculpture is neat, but looks dangerous! :)

    71 bldgs to choose from is a lot!

  2. Everyone wants to visit older and historic buildings during open house events, and while they can be wonderful, it is always good to see something new and hear about ideas and reasons. Your example was a great reuse of an old building. There should be much more of it.

  3. I've not heard of such an open house weekend before, but it sounds like a wonderful idea. The buildings you did visit are beautiful. I, too, like the mixture of the old and the modern that you've pictured.

  4. I loved having a look at that bright, modern design and the Old Gasworks. But did you get back to Bogga Road? That would have been top of my list I think. And a sincere thank you for the shot of the jacaranda, they are so beautiful even if I can no longer see them without remembering how splendidly they bloomed at the time of my sister's death. I think now that they celebrate her life.

  5. We decided we will visit Boggo Rd Gaol on another day. It is open for tours every day except Monday but you have to pay, whereas it was free on open day.

  6. That is a lot of places open at one time. Glad you got to see a few things. Love Jacaranda Trees which we don't have down here (as you would know).

  7. The open house weekend sounds interesting. The first building is pretty, I like the atrium. The cheese looks yummy, I love cheese. And the trees are beautiful!! Neat post!

  8. take me straight to the cheese factory.. yum and i love the view looking down in the atrium.. really beautiful. the sculpture is wonderful to... would be hard to decide which one to visit.

  9. Love the building! And the Jacaranda trees. I fell in love with them when I lived in southern California temporarily. We have the J trees here and there here in Mesa. Wish there were more of them.

  10. Nothing quite like the sight of a street lined with Jacarandas. Beautiful!
    The ecosciences building is magnificent and yes it would be an inspiring building to work from.
    Interesting post Di, have a lovely week.

  11. I love Open House weekend as you get to see such interesting buildings - in fact my latest post is about one I saw this time. My favourite photo is not a building but those jacaranda trees. I had never seen them before visiting Aus last year. What a spectacle.

  12. Isn't it wonderful to take a peek inside these establishments we usually only see from the out-side. I love the cheese deli .... if I were down to my last dime I'd buy a big chunk of "Delice de Bourgogne" and eat it with a crisp juicy packham pear. Love those jacarandas!

  13. I love the jacaranda trees, which we definition not have in Minnesota. Do they smell as lovely as they look! Open House weekend is such a good idea. We don't have it here, but I happened to be in London for theirs last month. Fun!

  14. Yes those Jacaranda trees are lovely, I would have loved to visit the old gaol what a shame the queue was so long to do so. I love cheese so would have had a great time tasting all those different cheeses

  15. The Open House weekend sounds similar to an event that Sydney Living Museums (formerly the Historic Houses Trust) runs every 2 years. They have not only old buildings but new ones as well open for a weekend with themed tours on the Saturday and open house on the Sunday.

    Looks like you had a great day and it is great to see the adaptive reuse of old buildings.

    Also love the jacarandas :)

  16. I'm glad that you got to see inside our Brisbane 'studio' , it's a nice place to work isn't it. But I like our Sydney Studio better! You can't beet working on a pier on the harbour!! I miss the Purple haze of Brissy though!

  17. these photos are so pretty! I have never heard of such a large open house before

  18. I almost went to this open house too and now I wish I had. Your jacarandas look gorgeous too!

  19. Oh My Goodness... I'm in love with the Jacaranda Trees... GORGEOUS.... Spring is such a marvelous season (just like Fall)... It's hard for me to pick a favorite...

    How nice for the city to have Open House... Sounds like you had a marvelous time...That cheese looks wonderful. I love cheese almost as much as I do Peanut Butter or Pumpkin... ha


  20. Great tour...and what a neat idea for the City to do. (I am with your Bill tho on the's too short to stand in line, I hate it!)

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