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15,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This past weekend marked the rededication and reopening of Brisbane's City Hall. The only City Hall of any capital city in the country, the iconic building had been closed since January 2010 to undergo much needed restoration work – the building had been plagued by crumbling structural concrete, a leaking roof, rising damp and foundations that were subsiding, among other things – and to modernise services, at a price tag of $215million dollars.

I personally reckon it was worth every cent, what do you think? Here are photos from the reopening that I posted in the Brisbane board's City Hall Renovation thread.

First, the pomp and ceremony of the rededication, with the Police Pipes Band, Mounted Police guard of honour and speeches from the Lord Mayor, Premier, Governor and the grandson of William Jolly, the Lord Mayor who originally opened City Hall.

P4060453 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060458 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060459 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060462 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060465 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060491 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060492 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

Now a couple of quick shots of the King George Square foyer. Couldn't stop too long, there was a lot of people piling in behind me!

P4060499 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060500 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

Of course the first room I went to was that Main Auditorium! Last time I saw this room, it was missing a floor! The finished space is amazing, and that new dome, while capable of looking very garish, can be toned down to look very stately as well.

P4060502 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060513 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060515 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060550 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

Next on the agenda is that piece of Brisbane history in its own right, the original Shingle Inn. The fitout of this Brisbane institution has been in storage for a decade, having to make way for the development of Queens Plaza, into which it was originally supposed to be reinstalled. While the orientation of the space had changed (a "straight through" layout originally, it now has an "L–shape"), the effect was very well pulled off! I think I heard a while ago that about 85% of the retained interior fabric was reused, and they've reused it well! Not an easy room to photograph though...

P4060534 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060535 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060538 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060538 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060540 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060541 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060542 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060544 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060545 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

To be continued...

15,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Continuing on with one of the many beautiful corridors inside City Hall.

P4060521 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

Following the light coming in the door I found one of several courtyards. This one, called the Enoggera Courtyard, is the one that features an 1880s drain that was one of the artefacts found buried under the auditorium floor (the space under the auditorium was excavated to install a new commercial kitchen – something City Hall previously didn't have. I personally love how they have relayed the drain into the courtyard, but I did hear one or two people mention that they didn't like it. Possibly a bit divisive.

P4060529 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060524 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060525 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060528 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

The light wells themselves are very impressive to see, knowing that they used to be covered in layers and layers of assorted services (drain pipes, water tanks, aircon condensers and more). The sunshades, although a modern addition, fit in quite well in my opinion.

P4060530 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060527 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

The light well theme is continued the other courtyard, named the Moggill Courtyard, turning both into nice little escapes into the sunshine.

P4060560 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060559 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

From the courtyards back into the opulence, with the two most elegant spaces within City Hall. The first being the Brisbane Room:

P4060555 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060557 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060558 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

The second is the group on rooms collectively known as the Balmoral Suites, made up of the Windsor Room:

P4060561 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

Balmoral Room:

P4060562 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

And the grand Oak Table Room with it's heritage Oak Table in the centre:

P4060563 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060564 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

And for the last of this set, I give you where the magic happens, the Council Chambers:

P4060568 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060570 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060571 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060572 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

And also the corridor to the Lord Mayor's Office, with the nice feature of photos of all the previous Lord Mayors of Brisbane hanging from the wall:

P4060575 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

To finish off, here are a handful more of the "lesser" rooms. Nice rooms in their own right, but not quite as grand as the Brisbane Room and Balmoral Suites, but still a massive improvement. I think I labelled these rooms correctly...they look rather similar!

The Sandgate Room:

P4060532 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

The Toowong Room (which I believe is the one that had 5 layers of floor on the ground before the refurbishment!)

P4060577 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

The Ithaca Auditorium Foyer (couldn't get into the Ithaca Auditorium sadly):

P4060565 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

And to finish, the smaller Ann Street Foyer with one of two Honour Rolls and its Lead Light Window.

P4060548 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060554 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

P4060552 by Nathan Murray, on Flickr

53 Posts
Brilliant photos and thanks for posting them. I would love to see photos of the John Miller Media Room in time. Loved his docos and media work & sadly couldn't go on the City Hall tours due to parenthood duties. Thanks again.

3,020 Posts
It's a classical beauty. Great details inside and out including what looks like some art deco features (light shades at least) complimenting the restrained classical style very well.

However there's one thing I haven't been able to reconcile about that building and that's the somewhat abrupt suspended-in-the-air appearance of the cantilever projecting at the front of it. It seems to upset the balance of the building imho. I think it actually needs slender, elegant posts and/or heavy prominent brackets to appear like it's being held up otherwise it looks like it clumsily protrudes from the building, killing the overall 'harmony'.

If we can be really critical I would also add that the columns seem too close together and perhaps would have looked better with less of them (-2) and more evenly spaced, especially for its size.

I would also add antifixae (or griffins) as can be seen on the plinth base of the tower and placed them on each end of the pediment with an acroterion or acropodium featuring an appropriate allegorical figure on the apex of the pediment. Like they are on the pediment of this building. It would make it seem more elegant and 'complete' imho.

I would also add subtle acroterion to the cantilever canopy along with heavy bracketing, sort of like this building, but doesn't have to ba as fancy.

Anyway, just a thought. It's a great building with an excellent refurbishment. Thanx for sharing. :cheers:

15,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
More from the Brisbane board thread, fish.01 also got a great variety of photos, including some areas I wasn't able to get into, like the Museum of Brisbane.

The Museum of Brisbane, formerly crammed into a little corner on the ground floor, now has a modern, purpose-built exhibition space on the roof of City Hall that is a massive improvement. It hosts some good exhibitions with a local focus. Current exhibitions include a display of a series of Panoramic photos showing the evolution of Brisbane over the decades, the history of the Brisbane River and the part it played in the city's founding and development, and Light Fantastic which is a look back at Expo 88 and the groundbreaking parades that were staged during the event. They also provide guided tours through City Hall and tours up the Clock Tower to the viewing platform. Definitely worth a look to anyone visiting Brisbane!


15,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
^^ Good comparison photo Aussie Bhoy!

Personally, I do much prefer KGS as it is today. It's a much more usable public square and easier accessed now that the stairs on the Adelaide Street side are gone. I do admit that it could do with more shade, particularly during summer when it can get rather hot and inhospitable, but it does irritates me when people comment about "missing the grass" when the only memories I have of the "grass" was of it looking more like the patches of dirt in the 2006 photo.

Put it in your mouth
7,110 Posts
Great photos, looks like they've done a wonderful job. That dome looks a bit strange but I'm sure it'd look really good 'toned down', they were probably just trying to demonstrate what it was capable of.

What's with the bar that's inside the main building? Was it always there?

15,712 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
^^ Yeah, they were just showing off the dome's capabilities when I took the photo. When turned off, the dome is a bright white which matches the walls, and they can make it a single colour that in turn makes the whole auditorium take on that hue, which is great for theming (eg: make it glow pink for breast cancer events). When I first came in there, they had an animation running that looked like a silhouette of clouds passing overhead, so they have that capability too.

As for the bar, I'm assuming you mean the Shingle Inn?

The Shingle Inn is a Brisbane institution in itself. It was built in 1936 on Edward Street by the owner of a commercial cake and biscuit producer who wanted to create a high end English-style tea house (stocked with cakes and biscuits he produced, of course!) The heritage-listed restaurant was one of the longest continuously operating restaurants in Brisbane until it closed in 2002 to make way for the construction of the Queens Plaza shopping complex on the Queen Street Mall.

The plan originally was for the Shingle Inn's original 1936 heritage interior to be carefully removed from the building and for it to be installed inside Queens Plaza, close to it's original location, when it was completed. The interior came out, but the the Bellchambers family, owners of the Shingle Inn since the mid 70s, and Queens Plaza's owner had a dispute over the rent and position that the Shingle Inn would be placed in (I believe the centre wanted it down stairs in the food court, not at ground level.) As a result, while new Shingle Inn franchises were opening up around the place (including in MacArthur Central, opposite Queens Plaza), the original fit out remained in storage for a decade. There were a few attempts to relocate it: South Bank was suggested, as was putting it into City Hall's Red Cross Tea Room before the restoration, but nothing came of it.

That was until City Hall's restoration, when then Lord Mayor Campbell Newman actually approached the Bellchambers about installing the original interior into the wing of City Hall originally housing the Museum of Brisbane. As part of the deal, the heritage interior was donated to the City of Brisbane, while the Bellchambers will operate the flagship store as they did when it was back on Edward Street. The new fitout has used approximately 80% of the original fabric, which is a pretty fair effort considering both that they transferred it to a new position with new orientation, and that some of the "stucco plasterwork" (the non-timber elements of the ceiling and walls) couldn't be reused as it was actually asbestos cement sheeting.

An interesting fact that binds the Shingle Inn and City Hall is that both share a common architect in Thomas Ramsay (T.R.) Hall. His early partnership, Hall & Prentice, designed City Hall, while his later partnership of Hall & Phillips did the Shingle Inn.
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