There aren't too many Art Deco buildings left in Brisbane these days. The McWhirter's building in the Valley is an obvious one, and there is another further down into the Valley that we'll see in a later post; but a lot of the Art Deco inspired picture theatres and hotels have bitten the dust. The building below is one that remains, prominently situated on the corner of Ann and Boundary Sts at the top of the Valley, just over the road from Centenary Place. Nowadays it is simply known by its address - 501 Ann St - but it has also been known by other names in the recent past. This is a current view of the building (click for a larger image).
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
I first remember this building as the administration office of the RACQ who bought the building in 1966, and then after being sold again in 1983 it became the Credit Union Australia building. Even as a teenager I liked this building because it was different from most others.
Constructed during the war years, the building was originally the head office for Queensland Brewery Company, who moved here from their earlier headquarters in Queen St. The design was from Mr HS McDonald of Addison & McDonald. The Queensland Heritage pages say this about it: "The design was a departure from accepted forms for commercial buildings in Queensland at the time. McDonald fused the assertive curves and angles of the Art Deco with the flowing horizontal lines of the Functionalist movement. This latter style was characterised by its simple geometric shapes, its light colours and large glass areas. The building also exemplified the use of new materials like the original glass brick of the circular entry tower and the synthetic stone of the original signage. Both these elements have since been removed."
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #104944)
The photograph above was taken not long after the completion of the building in 1942, and shows a military parade passing by on the way up Ann St towards the city.
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