New study shows modern home designs less suitable than Queenslander homes

New study shows modern home designs less suitable than Queenslander homes

Tips and Advice
The University of Queensland recently conducted a study that found Queenslander homes designed and built decades ago are more suited to our local climate than contemporary homes.
Queenslanders also scored better in terms of physical appearance, according to a recent article by Tony Moore in the Brisbane Times.
Contemporary homes often fall short of the elegant beauty of a Queenslander. Not only do they lack the beauty and romantic charm of a Queenslander, they also lack much when it comes to environmental considerations.

Queenslander environmental advantages

One of the main areas where Queenslander homes score more highly, is in the way they address air-circulation. Or more precisely, in their use of cross ventilation.
Queenslanders achieve cross ventilation through the alignment of doorways and windows which allow breezes to pass through the home. The breeze then removes hot air, creating a cooling effect as the air passes through.
Modern homes often ignore this principle, resulting in poor outcomes for owners and occupants.
The space under the home also promotes airflow and is often a wonderful refuge on the hottest of days, where the house itself acts as an insulator, keeping the area below the home much cooler.
Deep veranda’s keep the hot sun off the windows and walls, which further cools the home – a desirable feature in our sub-tropical environment.



Beautiful designs

But verandas are not only functional, they add a charm to the home, giving it personality and style. Large doors opening onto the wide veranda allow occupants to move between the internal and external spaces with ease. Maintaining a kind of remote connection, where one can have a more private conversation from your elevated position, whilst still feeling a connection to what’s happening inside the home.
Timber often requires more maintenance than some other materials; the article quotes Dr Dorina Pojani, urban planning researcher at UQ as stating that ‘money is needed to maintain and protect’ these older style homes that were built between the 1920’s and World War II. But there is no doubting the visual and historical appeal of timber homes from this era.

Queenslanders are not without their faults

If you’ve been reading my articles over the years you will know that I often refer to design faults in Queenslander homes. Whilst the article quotes interviewees stating their love of natural light, not all homes from this era let a lot of light in. In fact, some have small windows, which when combined with deeper veranda’s, results in dark areas within the home. Furthermore, the design of some Queenslanders can cause parts of the home to resist cross ventilation.
This is why a competent, sympathetic renovation design is so important.
Queenslanders have tremendous potential. In an earlier article Tony Moore mentions a timber cottage in Paddington which was purchased for “just under a million dollars”, which was then renovated over a period of 12 months before selling for $2.94 million.

Great design is the key

So, as you can see, Queenslander homes, along with workers cottages and other timber homes from earlier last century have plenty going for them. A quality renovation can dramatically increase their value. But having a great design is crucial.
A great design further enhances the environmental attributes of these homes. We have done numerous renovation designs for homes of this era that give the home a contemporary internal make-over, whilst staying true to the character and beauty of the original home.
So, if you, or someone you know, owners a Queenslander or a pre or post war workers cottage that needs renovating, you really need to talk to us today. This is a great time to renovate and the outcome of a well-designed timber home renovation will amaze you.
Dion Seminara Architect


Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.