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Images of Brisbane: Indoor/Outdoor

October 23, 2012

Brisbane, it’s said, is the largest subtropical city in the world with an Anglo culture.  And, it seemed, for a good part of its history, the climate was something to work around in order to maintain the look and feel of a British city.  Eating a restaurant meal outdoors, for instance, was pretty much unheard of until after Expo 88.

How things have changed.  Today, there’s a seamlessness between indoors and out that is one of the most attractive features of Brisbane design.

Oxford Street.


The latest trendy restaurant on South Bank, with a plush couch just outside the entrance.


During the day, outdoor seating on north-facing restaurants has to accommodate for the intensity of the sun.

Black-and-white blinds for a sidewalk cafe in Woolloongabba.


Purpose-built pavillions are integrated into the downtown pedestrian malls:.


Outdoor-style seating is even incorporated into interior spaces, like this example at the James Street market:


One of my favourite spaces is the cafe for Queensland’s State Library – practically wall-less, protected by the overhang of the building:


But in most cases, Brisbaners don’t have to leave home for the indoor-outdoor experience: it’s incorporated into their homes, with large balconies or verandas that are practically indistinguishable from the living rooms, separated only by folding glass walls that remain open for a good part of the year:

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandy James permalink
    October 23, 2012 10:41 am

    Gordon, wonderful images of what can be done to more seamlessly transition outdoor and indoor space. What is the name of the bird that is walking through the library cafe?

    • Ben Smith permalink
      October 23, 2012 1:21 pm

      The bird is an Ibis.

  2. David Robertson permalink
    October 23, 2012 7:56 pm

    The library is part of Brisbane’s arts and entertainment precinct. The precinct is located on the bank of the Brisbane river. It’s soon to expand. Its a very pleasant place to be. Plenty of cover when it rains or the sun beats down. The South Brisbane railway station which serves the precinct has just been renovated. A thousands times better than Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.

  3. Rick permalink
    October 23, 2012 8:43 pm

    Brisbane, it’s said, is the largest subtropical city in the world with an Anglo culture

    ….I got to take exception with that statement. Miami is 25 degrees N, Brisbane is 27 degrees S or is Miami not Anglo enough?

  4. guest permalink
    October 23, 2012 10:35 pm

    They must not have a separation requirement for serving alcohol. (Isn’t that why most patios around Vancouver have fences or barriers?)
    There are a number of Vancouver restaurants that have overhead garage-style doors that open up in summertime (many Earls restaurants have that feature), but the patio fence hems in the space. I suppose the barrier also keep panhandlers at a distance too (i.e. in Yaletown).
    A condo being built at Seymour and Nelson has been designed with the balcony as an outdoor room (with glass walls opening up.

    • rhodes permalink
      April 15, 2014 11:29 pm

      There is a separation requirement. There will usually be a sign at the limit at which patrons can take alcohol. And small brass circular pads are anchored in the pavement to show the city-approved limits. (This has more to do with collecting hefty licensing fees rather than prurience on behalf of the City!)

  5. October 25, 2012 5:43 am

    Great article and images!

    From what I hear – Brisbane also has some really great community initiatives which seem to complement the growing awareness and importance of climatic friendly design. These include popups, PARK(ing) Day, Diner en Blanc and underlying arts culture. I’m looking forward to the next stage in this city’s evolution!

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