11 Saint James Street

Our office building, an adaptive re-use project, provides some insight into our interests and values. 

This prominent corner site presides over the Normanby Fiveways, where Petrie Terrace meets Musgrave Road on the edge of Brisbane’s CBD.

The site has only had three uses since it was first subdivided around 1861 – a car showroom and petrol station (Palm Motors), a carpet showroom (Norman.B.Carpets) and our own office.

The original one storey car showroom is captive inside a later two-storey expansion.

The timber framing of the original one-storey building had to be removed as part of our remediation work. We repurposed it instead as new desks, meeting tables and joinery – still captive within the larger building.

We carefully removed layers of added materials to reveal the original character of the building. What could not be kept in place, is repurposed or recycled.

The string of old gables, long hidden behind signage walls, is revealed back to Petrie Terrace.

The entry is discreet and low key, and is accessed from the quiet Saint James Street at the rear. Upon entering the office, it opens out to surprising light filled, saw-toothed spaces and views of the city.

Locating an open studio here has ensured that the original showroom/workshop spaces are retained. The existing open space aligns with our own practice model and our open knowledge-sharing processes.

The project highlights our interest in connecting the old with the new, the quality of ‘space’ and the value of natural light.

The building is respectful of its past and at the same time, it is something altogether new. The office reinforces our commitment to being a part of the history of Petrie Terrace, as well as showing how we can be active participants in the positive development of our city.


On the land of the Turrbal and Jagera peoples. 

“The adaptive reuse has produced an exceptionally good result for the client through the minimised requirement for new building investment. The final result has delivered a significant cultural change.”

RAIA Queensland Awards Jury Citation.

Photography by Jon Linkins