Sunshine Coast legacy carried on?

Lake Wyeba House


The state of Building Design on the Sunshine Coast seems like a wasted opportunity for expression of what makes the area unique. While this is a nationwide issue, Queensland has the only form of historical architecture that responds to the surround environment: the ‘Queenslander’ - A timber framed, deep eaved, long verandaed, open home allowing for breezes to pass under and thought it. While the style is not completely original as it is derived from Dutch Indonesian buildings, they are still the only buildings to be unique to our country as they responded to local conditions and employed local materials.

The champions of Sunshine Coast architecture like Poole, the Claire’s and Mainwaring all developed honest, lightweight homes and buildings that were designed to respond to the environment thought the legacy of the traditional Queenslander. Their homes utilised solar orientation in conjunction with deep eaves to keep the homes warm in winter, and cool in the heat of summer. High pitched ceilings were made functional with operable clerestory windows encouraging warm air to rise with convection which drew lower cool air in. Lightweight cladding allowed for the homes to be purged of the days heat in the cool evening.


Sunshine Coast Passive Design



The sad thing is that the majority of new homes constructed do not take these lessons and build on them to make for connected Sunshine Coast houses that values its place and identity. Building designers document the majority of homes being constructed/renovated and most have not been exposed or educated to the work done by the area’s architects.

Having studied Building Design at Sunshine Coast TAFE I experienced how entrenched traditional building methods were in the structure of the education as someone’s grand plan for employment and growth. Residential classes were predominantly focused on documenting the Brick Veneer system of cladding. This was clearly an economic cross-pollinisation directive as the building system employs the greatest number of trades possible: Concreting, Bricklaying and carpentry are all utilised and therefore employment is ensured to all these trades for every job. In essence the industry and government is focused on ensuring mass employment and short-sighted economics at the education level.

Brick Veneer is the worst system of cladding possible of the Sunshine Coast, but is what most houses employ in this sub-tropical environment. Brick and rendered block work are used as a heavy non-structural cladding for no other purpose than to give the owners the feeling of security and conformity. This method of construction is the opposite of what an energy efficient well-designed home should be as the thermal mass is outside the home where it is pointless.

Brick Veneer Builder


When engaging a Sunshine Coast Building Designer for your plans it is important to consider the intent of the outcome, as the client is the one who can demand a home worthy of the site. There is a wealth of Architectural examples and information out there for both the Building Designer and Client, with prime examples to show the builder that it can be done.

There is a reason you, as a client, have chosen to live and work in this part of Queensland. There are many solutions to have a home that helps you celebrate where you are, whatever the location be it Rural, Canal or Suburban. The advantage of using a Building Designers is that they design your Sunshine Coast House Plans you want - most of the time.