Griffith professor documents 30 years of architectural history

2 October 2015

A new book documenting the past 30 years of Gold Coast architectural history is free to the public.
Professor Andrew Leach of Griffith University’s Urban Research Program is the lead author of GC30+: Documenting the Gold Coast Architecture Awards, 1984-2013, a record of nearly 300 architectural projects and more than 500 spectacular images. He collaborated with Gold Coast architects Katherine Rickard and Finn Jones.

architecture degrees at Griffith University
Griffith Professor Andrew Leach has made his book documenting the history of architecture on the Gold Coast free to the public. (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The content covers buildings, interiors and master planning works from the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers region that have been completed since the early 1980s and have received formal recognition from the Australian Institute of Architects.
“This book reflects the changing landscape of architectural, urban, cultural and environmental issues that have shaped Gold Coast architecture and how it is regarded,” Professor Leach said.
“One of the clearest lessons that came out of working on this book is the high level of variability in the criteria by which we judge architecture over time.”
Professor Leach said the major change he had noticed over the past 30 years was how Gold Coast buildings have come to demonstrate a much higher degree of professional control.
“The Gold Coast has always had a great mix of rough and ready projects and highly considered buildings, but with time the rough and ready aspect of architectural practice in this region is has quietly made way for work that seems more tightly managed,” he said.
“As the city grows, we can weather economic change better than we did in past decades. The evidence suggests that there are always opportunities for architects to work, even if they are hard won.”
Beach Resort at Coolangatta, the Abri Home for the Aged in Southport, and St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School, at Benowa. Professor Leach said the Awards were knowns as the “Oscars of Architecture.”
He added that he was offering the book online for free to recognise the generosity of architects, photographers and owners in contributing photographs and drawings. It also offers a way to open up a discussion on the region’s recent architectural history.
In compiling the book, Professor Leach said he enjoyed discovering works of architecture that had previously received little critical recognition. He cited work by architects Bill Heather and David Theideke, known for designing St Vincent’s Parish Centre in Surfers Paradise.
The book will be available for custom print version orders soon. The research was supported by Griffith University in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Architecture and extended with the support of the Australian Research Council and Griffith’s Urban Research Program.

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