James Birrell in Hot Modernism
James Birrell is one of the architects prominently featured in Hot Modernism. A range of his buildings, from the Centenary Pool in Spring Hill, through to the Jame Cook University Library in Townsville, are included in the exhibition, which concludes on 12 October 2014. Mr Birrell's remarkable career is reflected in many of the show's drawings and photographs.
At the comparatively young age of 27, Mr Birrell was appointed Chief Architect of the Brisbane City Council. Over six years, Mr Birrell oversaw an extensive range of public building projects, including libraries, car parks, even public toilet blocks. The majority of his buildings during this period have been altered or demolished. The Toowong Municipal Library, for example, has been modified and now houses a radiology clinic.
Following his time at Brisbane City Council, Mr Birrell worked at the University of Queensland from 1961-66, where he was responsible, among other buildings, for Union College, the J.D. Story Administration Building and the Agriculture and Entomology Building. In 1966 Mr Birrell established his own practice, working on a variety of projects, including the University of Papua New Guinea. Mr Birrell's extensive collection of plans from his private practice are held in the John Oxley Library.
To learn more of Mr Birrell's architectural legacy, you can view this interview conducted in 2012 and view several images taken from the John Oxley Library's collection.
You can also access these collections held by the John Oxley Library: