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Out from under: Teneriffe House

In rethinking the “raise and build under” renovation strategy so often applied to Queenslander houses, Vokes and Peters has added an elegant layer to the narrative of this historically rich dwelling.

As a visitor to Brisbane, I’ve noticed that the city’s body of residential architecture offers a greater sense of openness and generosity to the suburban streetscapes than elsewhere in the eastern states. This reflects the people who call Brisbane home and the balmy subtropical weather, which genuinely permits a life lived outside. A wonderful exemplar of this openness and generosity in design is an alteration and addition to a 1909 homestead by eminent Brisbane architect and artist Alexander Brown Wilson (1857–1938). Perched on a hilltop in the riverside suburb of Teneriffe, this home most recently functioned as a mental health hostel, modified from the original dwelling to sleep as many people as possible, including the enclosure of all the verandahs to create dormitories. The clients recognized that this old Queenslander house had a “special spirit” about it and engaged Vokes and Peters to bring it back to life and return it to the city.