Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Architectural Practice in Postwar Queensland (1945-1975): Building and Interpreting an Oral History Archive

  • John Macarthur (Chief Investigator)
  • Jane Hunter (CI 2)
  • Deborah van der Plaat (CI 3)
  • Andrew Wilson (CI 4)
  • Gavin Bannerman (Partner Investigator, State Library of Qld)
Project Timeframe: Australian Research Council Linkage Project 2011-13


  • State Library Qld
  • BVN Architecture
  • Conrad Gargett
  • Wilson Architects
  • Riddel Architecture

The story of Queensland’s post-war architecture is largely a tacit one. The architects who worked and studied at this time possess knowledge of the key events, buildings, practices and institutions of the period. While this information is often spoken, most commonly within the confines of the architectural community, it remains unrecorded. Documenting these historiesusing the oral history interview/digital story, the research will make explicit, for the first time, this tacit historical knowledge. Using innovative semantic web technologies, we will visually map the connections that bind these oral histories to each other and to related materials, such as drawings, photographs, books and manuscripts, to produce a new multi-media resource on Queensland architecture and design.

The Digital Archive for Queensland Architecture is funded through an ARC Linkage grant and is a collaboration between the Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History in the School of Architecture and the eResearch Group in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland, the State Library of Queensland, Wilson Architects, BVN-Donovan Hill Architecture, Riddel Architecture and Conrad Gargett Architecture.

Collaborators on this project are: Professor John Macarthur, Dr Deborah van der Plaat, Andrew Wilson, Adjunct Professor Don Watson, Adjunct Professor Robert Riddel and Dr Janina Gosseye at the School of Architecture (UQ) and Professor Jane Hunter and Andrae Muys at the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (UQ).

Visit our online resource under construction at: www.qldarch.net



Related Publications: 
  • Exhibition

    A major exhibition, Hot Modernism: Building Modern Queensland, 1945-1976, curated by Deborah van der Plaat, Janina Gossete, Gavin Bannerman and Kevin Wilson, held at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, July –October, 2014.

    Digital Archive 

    An interactive online database, the Digital Archive of Queensland Architecture (www.qldarch.net) collates all research material for the project into an interactive and multimedia research resource on Queensland architecture. Uniting tangible and intangible heritage, including drawings, photos and interviews, the archive allows the public to upload images of Queensland architecture, listen to architect’s interviews, build timelines and search journal articles. Integrated into the database are the development of a number of new tools which allow the user to interrogate the material in new and innovative ways, including relationships.  


    Hot modernism: Queensland architecture 1945-1975. Edited by John Macarthur, Deborah van der Plaat, Janina Gosseye and Andrew Wilson London, United Kingdom: Artifice, 2015.


    70 + oral history interviews and films with architects who trained or worked in the post-war period.

    Public Forums

    an introduction of the project to the profession and general public (State Library of Queensland, November 8, 2012, 5.30-8pm)

    Architectural Education in post-war Queensland (State Library of Queensland, March 5 2013)

    Climate and the Queensland House (State Library of Queensland, November 7, 2013) and Visions for Brisbane (State Library of Queensland 27 August 2013).

    Film Competition

    Film competition titled Hot and Bothered: Saving Modern Queensland, June-September, 2014, hosted by SLQ: See promo film in dropbox and winning films at: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/awards/hot-and-bothered


    John Herbert Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Nomination, Hot Modernism: Exhibition, Digital Archive and Book, National Trust, Queensland, 2017.

    Gold Heritage Award, Interpretation and Promotion, Hot Modernism: Exhibition, Digital Archive and Book, National Trust, Queensland, 2017.


    “Welcome to Funky Town,” Exhibition Review, Courier Mail, Canvas, Saturday 28 June, 2014, 22-23.

    #hotmodernism: https://twitter.com/hashtag/hotmodernism

    Recent book review in Architecture Australia: http://atch.architecture.uq.edu.au/filething/get/1979/HotModBookReview_AAMarch2016.pdf

    ‘Hot modernism Cool resource’ was established http://www.uq.edu.au/research/impact/stories/hot-modernism-cool-resource/

  • Download PDF