Riverside Centre – Heritage application submitted to QLD Register

Submissions due 18 April 2023.
Riverside Centre by Harry Seidler. photo John Gollings 1987
Copyright Penelope Seidler

An application has been submitted for the inclusion of the Riverside Centre in the Queensland Heritage Register. The Riverside Centre was designed by Harry Seidler in 1983 and completed in 1986.

Access the application: https://www.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0030/371199/602401-application.pdf

Heritage Queensland seeks submissions on whether the Riverside Centre’s application’s stated heritage criteria are met  – for them to decide whether to recommend to Queensland Heritage Council for heritage listing. Submissions due 18 April 2023.

Also there is a DA before Brisbane City Council for a new tower on the north precinct.  DAA006210428 for 123 Eagle St. Even though submitted as “code assessable” – DOCOMOMO members should still make a submission. The developer’s original claims of this proposed tower “upholding Seidler’s vision” seems to have stopped. Harry Seidler never designed a podium tower – the tower was always differentiated from the plaza.

There is no concept of an interim heritage order in Queensland, so unless the DA is refused or withdrawn – it will destroy the award-winning Riverside Centre.

Riverside Centre is an exceptional example of Seidler’s modern design. A symmetrical faceted tower is contrasted with the fluid forms of the plaza and its low-level plaza buildings. The fluid white contours (of the white framed building fascias, balustrades and gateway beam) are curves meeting cartesian elements forming a cohesive free form a whole balanced composition – designed to be experienced both from the ground and also viewed from above.
It is viewed as a sculpture from the side and above and experienced as walking through different shaped spaces as sculpture as you walk through the plaza.

Riverside Centre remains the only commercial project ever to win the Sir Zelman Cowan Award for non-residential architecture (won in 1987).

It has technical and structural excellence and quality materials (eg textured porfido stone contrasted against the smooth white contoured lines of the plaza and set against the shiny grey granite slabs on the facade of the tower.

It was the first tower to open Brisbane to its river (previously just a wall of buildings) and car parking and wharves along the river’s edge. First to have sun-blades on an office tower in Australia.  It has a lobby and entrance engineered by studio Nervi’s successor Mario Desideri.

It was the first office tower with aluminium sunblades, and “facade gardens” with trees for employees to break free of air-conditioned space. It is the only Australian example of Niemeyeresque plaza forms – and a sinusoidal canopy like Oscar Niemeyer’s 1941 Pampulha ballroom external columned canopy which was world heritage listed in 2016. Both Kenneth Frampton and Philip Goad compared Riverside Centre’s plaza forms to Oscar Niemeyer urban planning.

DOCOMOMO Australia member Polly Seidler was reported in the Courier Mail on 21 March and was on Channel 9 news see at

Polly claims there is no basis for GPT to speak of an “expanded precinct” when the new tower encroaches upon the public plaza area, nor for them to speak of “engaging with the relevant stakeholders”.