Character Design Forum

The current stage of consultation has concluded for this project.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Character Design Forum. The forum closed on 31 January 2019. Council will review all the feedback and develop a set of design principles to shape how we protect Queenslanders and other traditional designs.

About the Character Design Forum

Brisbane has a unique and special character, which is important to residents, visitors, investors and businesses. This character provides a link to the past, exposing the layers of change that have occurred in the city, as well as opportunities to celebrate and shape the future character and identity of Brisbane. And an important contributor to the character and identity of Brisbane’s suburbs is its iconic Queenslander and other traditional residential designs.

Brisbane City Council recently conducted the Plan your Brisbane consultation where more than 100,000 residents had their say. The result was Brisbane’s Future Blueprint where 'Empower and engage our residents' is one of the eight principles that were developed.

A key action to progress that principle is to help residents have more say in the protection of our Queenslanders and other traditional designs. To facilitate that, Council is holding a Character Design Forum to engage residents in a discussion about these important city assets.

As our city adapts to meet our changing social, environmental and technological needs, we need to manage the balance between meeting new requirements while respecting the character of our traditional houses, streets and suburbs.

For more information email the project team or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Character Design Forum. The forum closed on 31 January 2019. Council will review all the feedback and develop a set of design principles to shape how we protect Queenslanders and other traditional designs.

About the Character Design Forum

Brisbane has a unique and special character, which is important to residents, visitors, investors and businesses. This character provides a link to the past, exposing the layers of change that have occurred in the city, as well as opportunities to celebrate and shape the future character and identity of Brisbane. And an important contributor to the character and identity of Brisbane’s suburbs is its iconic Queenslander and other traditional residential designs.

Brisbane City Council recently conducted the Plan your Brisbane consultation where more than 100,000 residents had their say. The result was Brisbane’s Future Blueprint where 'Empower and engage our residents' is one of the eight principles that were developed.

A key action to progress that principle is to help residents have more say in the protection of our Queenslanders and other traditional designs. To facilitate that, Council is holding a Character Design Forum to engage residents in a discussion about these important city assets.

As our city adapts to meet our changing social, environmental and technological needs, we need to manage the balance between meeting new requirements while respecting the character of our traditional houses, streets and suburbs.

For more information email the project team or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.



You  may submit a photo of your favourite Queenslander (or adapted Queenslander) or other traditional design in Brisbane (please ensure address details are excluded). Please explain why you like it. 

If you wish to submit a photo of a design that, in your opinion, does not work well, please submit your feedback here.


Thank you for submitting your story. We will let you know when it is published.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
  • Traditional Queenslander

    by RonRuys, 3 months ago

    There are two main styles of Queenslander The larger urbal and rural style and the smaller high density inner city type both have similar structural methods Timber, high pitch gal steel roof smaller rooms high ceilings and possible verandahs To modify, add onto, or change this would make it no longer a Queenslander

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  • Connection

    by Cal, 3 months ago

    I love being on my verandah and enjoying the cool shifting breeze, the scent of frangipani from the front garden, and watching my children play. From the verandah, I can wave to my neighbours as they wander home from the bus stop. If I’m lucky, they’ll stop and have a chat or come in for a drink. The timber posts lean a little, but that just adds to the charm!

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  • mis-understanding of heritage preservation

    by Erhard, 3 months ago

    Coming from Europe, I would have been exposed to a long history of heritage preservation. This is a very important element of city-making and as a result of this, there is an overlay of certain influences and history. With that being said, every time has it,s good and bad examples, and it seems important to me to mention that selective preservation is key to success.

    A blanket overlay of everything prior to 1946 seems a very odd regulation. This implies that anything built before the critical number is of high value, an anything built afterwards is not. We probably agree... Continue reading

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  • The problem with infill in character areas.....

    by ASN, 3 months ago

    As another person commented, clusters or larger tracts of character housing is great, with this being characteristic of many older parts of Brisbane. It needs to be kept this way. A problem arises when in a predominantly character housing area a block is split, either (side by side or battle-axe), or a small house on two titles is moved to one side or removed totally, and the vacant land has a non-sympathetically designed house erected on it. We end up with a street of character housing with an odd sprinkling of long, narrow up-down houses of blocky modern design (to... Continue reading

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  • Brisbane haracter is not only pre 1946 Queenslanders

    by JackB, 3 months ago

    In suburbs such as St Lucia, Indooroopilly, Fig Tree Pocket there are many good examples of mid-century design (1950s-1980s)  by architects such as Hayes and Scott, Fulton Trotter, John Dalton, Robin Gibson, Noel Robinson etc that deserve recognition as Brisbane character housing. A number of smaller scaled apartment blocks which were derided as 6 packs, now by contrast with modern bulky development look pretty good too - 'missing middle' 1970s style. There are many other design styles such as Spanish Mission, Art Deco which are underappreciated in Brisbane.

    A general problem of big house on small block is too much... Continue reading

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  • Fake Heritage

    by Ma, 3 months ago

    Nothing irks me more than ‘fake heritage’, where architects try to copy the work of those that came before them... rather than learning, building, and growing from Queensland’s strong architectural history. 

    New buildings should not try to disguise themselves as something they are not. They should embrace their newness, and not degrade the beauty and character of true, honest heritage structures. 

    Design requirements for new buildings should allow designs to reference classic forms, without being so prescriptive that new buildings have to copy old ones (as is currently the case) with no sign of architectural progression or growth. 

    When walking... Continue reading

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  • Old character, new future.

    by johnno, 3 months ago

    There are two critical issues here, and it's important they are not confused.  They both stem from the internationally famous and historically significant Queenslander house form, about which much has been written and a lot is known, though not necessarily well nor widely understood. 

    The first issue is that this 'timber and tin' housing solution when built side by side and aggregated into suburbs across a hilly topography in a subtropical climate produced a unique suburban built form admirably suited to the region in all respects.  What started as a practical and affordable solution for housing for everyday folk has... Continue reading

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  • Evolving housing

    by Prime Lemur, 3 months ago

    The Queenslander style of house, to me, seems like a fantastic adaptation  to Queesland's tropical/sub-tropical climate. However, not every Queenslander is a masterpiece of architecture.

    I feel it is important to permit the continuing adaptation of these types of houses. To strike a balance between form and utility is always difficult, and often subjective ... but people should be able to innovate and modernise, within reason.

    The perennial problem, of course, is  the relentless avarice of developers (large and small) and their willingness to subvert the character of any neighbourhood or suburb in the pursuit of profit.

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  • My Changing Suburb

    by wayneatplay, 3 months ago

    Our problem is the Build it fast clean up the mess later in Holland Park & it's surrounding suburbs. Developers DO NOT CARE about what they do....as they have no intention of either living in their own work or anywhere nearby. My concern is this Council is completely out of touch with any proper form of planning & the recently actioned Cooprparoo Neighbourhood Plan is a perfect example of this. Best example of this is Harold street Holland Park between Arabillia & Rita Streets is filling with inappropriate built houses for the area......Another developer buy out...Profits before Planning.   

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  • Queenslanders are immediately identifiable

    by SueWright, 3 months ago

    Queenslanders are immediately identifiable. A Queenslander is a wooden structure with a gabled roof, chamfer boards on the outside and tongue and groove walls on the inside. Some have ornate plaster ceilings, some have tongue and groove ceilings and horse hair plaster board walls (usually above the tongue and groove walls). Wooden verandahs and stairs help define Queenslanders, as does corrugated iron roofing. Queenslanders were built at a particular point in time, and help define Brisbane as a unique place. 

    Generally, Queenslanders were built to be on larger properties or close to other Queenslanders (including workers cottages) or detached dwellings.... Continue reading

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