South Bank architecture
South Bank’s structures vary in style and age – some are more than 100 years old and others were constructed as recently as 2017. While you’re at South Bank, why not peruse the precinct’s architectural highlights after a bite to eat at one of South Bank’s many restaurants? To find your way around, check out the official South Bank map.
The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn was built in 1864 during South Bank’s peak shipping period and it quickly became a go-to hangout for sailors. Today The Ship Inn is a well-known and much-loved restaurant, bar and function space.
The Plough Inn
The Plough Inn was constructed in 1885, during South Brisbane’s commercial boom. In 1988, The Plough Inn participated in the World Expo ‘88 celebration. Today this popular bar and eatery caters to a variety of patrons and can also be used as a function space.
South Brisbane Railway Station
South Brisbane Railway Station is a historical masterpiece, and through the years has brought an influx of visitors to the city. Completed in 1891, the station accommodated Brisbane’s increasing population and is still greatly utilised today. It is the second-oldest railway station in central Brisbane.
Denton Corker-Marshall devised the Arbour in 1999 and it was constructed from 406 curling, galvanised steel posts. The 1km structure is wrapped in stunning purple bougainvillea flowers and is perfect for a selfie. It provides a shaded path through the Parklands for visitors.
The Goodwill Bridge
The Goodwill Bridge is a 450m footbridge linking South Bank to the city’s Botanic Gardens. It opened in 2001 and is named after The Goodwill Games, which were held in Brisbane that same year. Devised by Cox Rayner Architects, the curvature of the bridge deck provides a perfect viewing platform of the city skyline and Brisbane River.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC); State Library of Queensland; Queensland Art Gallery; and Queensland Museum and Sciencentre
Four iconic buildings comprise South Bank’s original "cultural centre" and were designed by local Brisbane architect Robin Gibson. The Queensland Art Gallery opened in 1982, QPAC in 1985, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre was completed in 1986, and State Library of Queensland was opened in 1988. All four "brutalist"-styled buildings have off-white concrete cubic forms, deeply recessed windows and stepped terraces.
Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)
The newest addition to South Bank’s cultural precinct is GoMA which was completed in 2006, designed by Sydney-based company Architectus. Placed perpendicular to the city, a seamless link between GoMA and the rest of the city was forged. Distinctive features include giant glass rooms and open verandahs that adapt to Queensland’s climate and create an inviting community space.
In 2012 the ABC headquarters opened its doors. The building was designed by Richard Kirk Architects and was mindfully constructed to complement Brisbane’s beautiful climate. The steel cladding is well-suited to tropical climates, and the building's large glass windows invite in natural light. The building’s open internal layout creates a sense of community and helps to facilitate collaboration.
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) expansion
The original BCEC was finished in 1995, however due to increasing need for more space, it was extended in 2012. Both the original design and the expansion was commissioned by Cox Rayner Architects. The expansion spans five levels and intentionally contrasts the original structure to demonstrate the evolution of the BCEC over time and context.
Brisbane-based architects Arkhefield were the brains behind River Quay which opened in 2011. The finished architecture celebrates Queensland’s sub-tropical climate and lifestyle with its outdoor dining areas and verandahs. The buildings are twisted and folded with cantilevered roofs.
The creators of the Emporium in Fortitude Valley are on to their next project! Southpoint is a stunning multi-use commercial, residential and retail development, positioned at the southern end of the South Bank precinct. Southpoint homes Flight Centre’s global headquarters and South Bank’s first major supermarket, Woolworths, along with the South Bank train station, which recently received a $6 million upgrade.