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Tent House, Noosa hinterland, by Sparks Architects.

Insights on building design

Buildings represent a point in time of where we have come from and where we are going to.

They reflect the society we live in.

The inaugural Sunshine Coast Open House program on Saturday, October 21, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the region has developed.

It will also give an insight on how the Sunshine Coast is likely to progress.

The program, designed in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Architects Sunshine Coast Regional Committee, will give the chance to tour a remarkable range of 30 public and private buildings.

Included on the free program are the heritage-listed Caloundra Lighthouses, dating back to 1896 and 1968, Maleny Lodge, Pomona’s Majestic Theatre, the Eddie De Vere building in Nambour and the highly sustainable Mike Ahern Centre in First Ave, Maroochydore.

Providing a look at things to come will be Building H2 at the University of the Sunshine Coast, that boasts world-class visualisation theatres for immersive learning, combining visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual-reality technologies.

Then there is the Tent House at Verrierdale designed by Sparks Architects that has been short-listed for this year’s national architecture awards.

Australian Institute of Architects (Qld) president Bruce Wolfe said the institute felt strongly about ensuring good design and architecture being accessible to the community.

Avonlea - Robinson Architects, Photographed by Alain Bouvier

Avonlea – Robinson Architects, Photographed by Alain Bouvier

“As architects we are creators, not merely of the built environment but of culture and the identity of a city.

“We create enduring and irrevocable works that can become permanent expressions of a society’s values, ideology, and aspirations at a fixed point in time.

“Architects create buildings that reflect the progression and growth of our communities, including technological advancements.

“We are no doubt creating history through design that will speak of our cultural identity to future generations.

“Queensland is undergoing rapid growth and change, including the Sunshine Coast. With this come the questions of how issues of sustainability, urban regeneration, and economic development are exemplified in urban environments, and how sustainability must be defined not only in engineering terms, but also in social terms.

“The Sunshine Coast House Open House program allows us to take this conversation into the broader community, allowing us to showcase architecture and its impacts ranging from the family home through to public spaces and critical infrastructure.’’

As patron of the Sunshine Coast Open House program highly-awarded Noosa architect John Mainwaring said the initiative was mind blowing.


John Mainwaring at the University of the Sunshine Coast Library

Along with Buderim architects Lindsay and Kerry Clare, Mainwaring and Gabriel Poole  led the Sunshine Coast style of light-edged residences and small pavilions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Together with Melbourne-born Lawrence Nield, Mainwaring won the 1997 Sir Zelman Cowan Award for Public Architecture for the University of the Sunshine Coast library.

“I tend not just to acknowledge the first Australians but learn from them,’’ he said at the launch of the Open House program.

“The Sunshine Coast has become a very informal area. It has developed its own personality and identity.

“We have had some remarkable architecture from the 1950s-60s.

“In the 1980-early 2000s we had a real purple streak with five Robin Boyd award winners.

“Yet Gabriele Poole’s tent house at Lake Weyba was one of the best.

“It was outstanding.

“Unfortunately, he did not enter it in the awards.

“Along with Glenn Murcutt, he has a feeling of cultural lightness.’’

Mainwaring said the Terry Hill-designed house at Sunshine Beach provided great understanding of the sand dunes and the beachfront location.

He said the tide was turning in architecture with regional architects providing a fresh approach to building design.

“Usually we find the big boys from the city come to the regions but we have turned that around. Turned the tide.

“The success of architecture on the Sunshine Coast has evolved into bigger projects, such as the University of the Sunshine Coast and Viridian at Noosa.

“There is a lovely sense and spirit of place, the use of light and the environment.

He pointed to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane by Lindsay and Kerry Clare.

It has sought to draw people in through the construction of an open urban pavilion on the Southbank that gave careful response to the site.

Mainwaring, like many of his colleagues, came to the Sunshine Coast to get away from the rat race.

Yet the irony was being invited back to the city to work on projects such as the Queen St Mall.

He lamented that while they tried to make Brisbane the Ramblas of the south, yet that was changing.

That change, although inevitable, would pressure on the Sunshine Coast.

“We will see how the region evolves as an entity – try to harvest the Sunshine Coast personality and character.’’

He paid special mention to the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“The character of this billion-dollar building has been captured.

“It gives me great heart – how a complex building can get such a feeling of lightness.’’


Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Speaking at the launch of the Open House program Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey said it would highlight important chapters in the region’s fascinating history, from 1868 until now.

He said the event, free to residents and visitors, represented a history built in steel, glass, stone and timber those early pioneers could not have envisaged.

Many of the buildings on show are from the past 30 years and that reflects the rapid growth of the region.

“It’s a narrative as to how the people have responded to the Sunshine Coast environment.”

Noosa Shire Mayor Tony Wellington said the region’s very liveable climate inspired outdoor living and this in turn stimulated designs that were sympathetic to the natural environment.

“We don’t simply influence our environment,” he said. “It influences us.

“As Winston Churchill said: ‘We may shape our buildings but thereafter they shape us.’

“Good architecture responds to both the landscape and human needs. This dual function is clearly evident in many buildings across the Sunshine Coast.”

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the event was a key activity in the 50-year celebrations of the naming of the Sunshine Coast, a coming of age in innovative public and private building design.

“It is the chance to show- case where we are headed as well as where come from. To engage in our past and future,” he said.

“As one of fastest growing regions we have a keen focus on promoting sustainable design and innovation in a built environment and are working towards becoming a leader in the clean-tech space, which will open great opportunities for our Sunshine Coast into the future.”

Caloundra Lighthouses1

Caloundra Lighthouses, circa 1896 and 1968, by A Fulton Regional Lighthouse Engineer, from Colin Gladstone

Majestic at Night - Cape Tiene Photography

Majestic at Night: Cape Tiene Photography

Included in Sunshine Coast Open House on October 21 will be heritage walking tours of Caloundra and Nambour.

The Caloundra heritage tour will mark 100 years since the first allotments of land were made available for sale at the Bulcock Estate, and learn about the 1896 lighthouse, the oldest surviving building in Caloundra.

The walking tour of Nambour on the same day will invite participants to step back in time and take in a snapshot of the area’s historical landscape.

A panel discussion is planned for Saturday, October 14, looking at Sunshine Coast Architecture – Past, Present and the Future.

Six leading Sunshine Coast architects will discuss how architecture has evolved in the region over the past 50 years and how it could evolve over the next 50 years.

Speakers include John Mainwaring, Lindsay Clare, Ian Dimond, David Teeland, Dan Sparks and John Robertson.

The free panel discussion on Saturday, October 14, is from 3pm at The Majestic Cinema, Nambour C-Square Shopping Centre, Currie St, Nambour.

To book for the panel discussion, go to 30fs5y5

For details on Sunshine Coast Open House visit: http://www.sunshinecoast

Eddie De Vere1

Eddie De Vere Building, Nambour.

Sunshine Coast winners of the Robin Boyd Award:

1986 Winner The Pie Residence, Peregian Beach, QLD: Geoffrey Pie

1991 Joint Winner The Tent House, QLD: Gabriel Pool

1992 Winner Clare House, Buderim, QLD: Lindsay Clare Architects

1996 Joint Winner Chapman House, QLD: John Mainwaring & Associates Pty Ltd

2003 Joint winner Ogilvie House, Sunshine Beach, QLD: Kerry Hill Architects


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