We all love Queenslanders. There’s no doubt about it. Historic, timber houses have lined the streets of Brisbane and beyond for many generations. Queenslanders have blessed our streets for a hundred years or so, most being built post-war, and were specifically designed to suit Queensland’s tropical climate.
The characteristics of a gorgeous Queenslander will never go unnoticed. The house feels alive and has its own personality. So many families are lucky to call this stunning piece of architecture their home.
All of this to say, Queenslanders can be improved. A lot. Here at PlaceMate Architects we love improving the liveability of these wonderful homes and have worked on them more times than you can count on your extended family’s fingers. Over the years we have developed a keen eye towards improving the liveability of a Queenslander, as they have challenged us with the true art of architecture – the balance between the old and the new. We believe we have mastered this.
To help you understand a little bit more from our point of view, we have collated a list of the Cons of Queenslanders and How Architecture Can Help.
People live differently
The crux of all these cons, which architects and builders obviously were not aware of in the 1930’s, is that people are living differently. 50 years ago “the outside” was the place to be. Playing games underneath our houses or in the backyard was fun and exhilarating. Nowadays we find ourselves living more on the inside. And this is an exact reflection of the architecture of Queenslanders. They were meant for dining and sleeping, rather than “living”. The more we “live” inside our houses, the more our eyes are opened to the issues that arise.
A Disturbed Flow
If you have ever lived or even walked into a Queenslander, you will notice the rooms have the characteristics of, well, just a room. Much like the shelving in your kitchen or your cutlery drawer, each space has a conservative purpose. This creates a box feel to the whole house. More often than not, the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living areas, dining room are all separate rooms with walls that define their purpose.
For many families, this box feel is claustrophobic and tight. At PlaceMate Architects we believe beautiful architecture comes from flowing spaces. Redefining the rooms of Queenslanders fit for families, easier access, and fresh spaces is how we can significantly improve the liveability. To create a cohesive flow throughout the house we may knock down unnecessary walls, echo certain aspects of architecture throughout the home, or turn existing windows into large, sliding doors to extend the outside view.
Not Connected to Environment
From an architecture perspective, looking at a Queenslander is like looking at a box that has just landed on Earth from another planet. The stumps that uphold the home were originally meant for the deterrence of termites, breeze and floods. However, over time, we have created different solutions to deter pesky insects and weather conditions, and no longer need raised homes to do the job.
Queenslanders were built to follow a set of rules. The living is above, the garden is down below. To enjoy the garden, you had to intentionally walk down the stairs to it. The garden and the house were two separate places with separate purposes.
In this modern day, many people enjoy a strong connection between living and garden areas. If that means building underneath to create more space to live or creating an outdoor room to flow into the garden, we will make it happen.
At PlaceMate Architects, it goes beyond just garden and into environment. How do you want to view the world from where you are standing in your home? For example, classic architecture builds the window in the middle of the room. What if the view isn’t there? PlaceMate Architects recognises these classical rules and yearns to connect your home to the broader environment. Over time, we have developed many strategies to increase the flow between outside and inside.
An example of how we have successfully integrated a Queenslander into its surrounding environment is the work we did in Mitchelton. Check out that project here!
What we love about Queenslanders
All this to be said, Queenslanders have a special place in our hearts. The classical formality, timber floors and high ceilings always strike a chord in our heartstrings. The craftmanship of these stunning buildings is just impeccable. If we could go back in time to congratulate the people who put so much care and effort into Queenslanders, we would. They have been treasured by every generation since.
At PlaceMate Architects, we see don’t see these buildings as houses but as homes. We want to improve your living by extending the life and joy of these fantastic Queenslanders.
If you enjoyed this piece, make sure to check out our Architecture Projects page!