Character Design Forum

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Consultation has concluded for this project.

Brisbane is a great place to live, work and relax. As Brisbane grows, requiring high-quality and attractive design will mean new development makes good use of space and matches the area in which it’s built.

In late 2018 Council held the Character Design Forum and community consultation to begin creating the Traditional Housing: Alterations and Extensions Design Guide. Council used the feedback to develop a set of design principles which were the basis for the design guide. The design guide is now available for home owners and designers to explore when planning any alteration or extension to a traditional character building. You can read the guide here.



Brisbane is a great place to live, work and relax. As Brisbane grows, requiring high-quality and attractive design will mean new development makes good use of space and matches the area in which it’s built.

In late 2018 Council held the Character Design Forum and community consultation to begin creating the Traditional Housing: Alterations and Extensions Design Guide. Council used the feedback to develop a set of design principles which were the basis for the design guide. The design guide is now available for home owners and designers to explore when planning any alteration or extension to a traditional character building. You can read the guide here.



Tell your story


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.

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    Character Homes: Same strategy. Longer time frame please.

    by Jan Hogarth, about 2 years ago

    I have been a renovation specialist architect for 25 years. A lot of my bread-and-butter work is renovating pre-1945 homes. When I started, protection for the character of our inner suburbs was up to individual owners. Many of the homes were fairly shabby. Some owners' attitude was "They're pretty old and drafty and need new wiring, drainage, cupboards and lots of maintenance. Why can't we knock it down and build a new place- it will be cheaper."  That's completely understandable.

    It's only because of town planning policies protected those suburbs from being entirely transformed into tracts of units. Queenslanders are... Continue reading

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    Think outside of the square.

    by Gertrude , about 2 years ago

    These townhouses in Highgate Hill designed by local architects Marc and Co, in my opinion are a terrific alternative/contemporary response to the character of the local area. Whilst respecting the heritage of the area, they offer a unique expression of the contemporary worker's cottage. 

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    A Queenslander that retains the right elements

    by Tabitha, over 2 years ago

    Regarding the question of a favourite Queenslander and why I like it - I may be biased, but I think my 99 year old Queenslander (which has been renovated and modernised for our current living expectations) maintains the right elements - raised on stumps with timber slats, largely unenclosed underneath to allow for cool breezes, a front staircase, open front verandah providing a welcoming and active interface with the street as well as open shady living space, window hoods, front and back door lining up so both can open for crossventilation, high ceilings, plus house is in a garden setting... Continue reading

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    Protection for trees and homes

    by juljac_4030, over 2 years ago

    It drives me wild that people will buy a Queenslander with mature trees in the yard, and the first thing they do is cut down the trees that may have been there for many years. Often the excuse is that they are dangerous or their roots are causing problems; but really the new owners want to put a pool in! I think council should do more to protect mature trees on private land.

    If people buy a Queenslander style home or character / traditional property they should be made aware of both the benefits and flaws of an older style... Continue reading

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    Queenslanders are not the only ones

    by Anne G, over 2 years ago

    Respect for past building in both design, ornament, labour, values and materials should not only reside in pre 1945 building in Brisbane.

    So many post war housing that showcase beautiful hardwood frames, Qld maple floors, silky oak joinery,  hardware and fittings made locally and a simplicity and modesty of design allowing cross ventilation are valued only for their availability to be knocked down!

    These houses are easily renovated and extended. I wish that the people of Brisbane didn’t only bestow respect on the worthy Queenslander

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    Heritage areas with Character homes, should not be totally destroyed

    by Carolinemhms, over 2 years ago

    My Grandparents home of over 50 years, built in 1912, was demolished along with about 20 others in 2016. It was in a Heritage place or area. It was a solid high 'Queenslander': not really large, but it had its beautiful features - the front gable and veranda for example. It was definitely a Character house, along with about 10 others that were demolished - not even sold for removal. 

    This house and many others in the area though did not meet any of the requirements for demolition and a subsequent new development. This was in the Assessment report. The... Continue reading

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    Features of traditional Queenslanders that have proved their approriateness for the climate are what is being lost at an alarming rate.

    by notmore, over 2 years ago

    Many of these older homes had good design features which were eco friendly and should be retained to preserve the character of Brisbane. For example verandas, windows opening to the north, wide roof overhangs to keep external walls cool and elevated floors or stumps to minimize water damage from severe storms.  Houses were designed around the position and the block.  Gardens and trees provided cooling and habitat for native birds were great features that should be retained. 

    I agree that the Council seems very reluctant to reinforce their own regulations on a raft of issues. Penalties for demolishing character houses... Continue reading

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    Not All Building Are Equal

    by SPeek, over 2 years ago

    This debate or "have your say" approach is not achieving anything. There will always be those who want the 1946 blanket approach stay to protect Queenslanders, and those that don't. Every situation is different. Some Queenslanders are worthy of renovation and some are not. Some are in a cluster of beautiful traditional housing, while others are surrounded by commercial eyesores. Perhaps Council can identify houses that are worthy of renovating and provide a grant to bring them back to their original glory. If it is so important to the community to keep these houses, then let's back it up with... Continue reading

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    Queenslander Renovations

    by Love New Farm, over 2 years ago

    I now live in New Farm and have visited the suburb for 50 years as I always had family here. It is disappointing to see so many Queenslanders being renovated and losing the essence of what they are.

    Introduction of bricks and other modern materials is eroding their historical significance. The classic element of a front staircase is often the first thing to be removed. Such a shame.

    When our southern and overseas friends visit they are shocked at the change to the suburb and often comment that is has lost the charm it is loved for.

    Having visited many... Continue reading

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    wilkinson M

    by Wilkinson M, over 2 years ago

    I believe strongly in maintaining the Heritage buildings in Brisbane. The problem is determining what is Heritage and what is "just old". There are many houses in our area of Grange and Wilston that are not being renovated and are instead rented out by owners that cannot afford to upgrade the homes. 

    Renovation costs three times the cost of building new and I think that new homes could be replacing so called character homes with a similar look, or the same frontage. 

    The idea that all pre war houses are character is a very low bow to draw. Many of... Continue reading

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