Bonsai House | City Projects Office

Bonsai House | City Projects Office | Photographer: BCC Photographers

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Bonsai House | City Projects Office

Traditional Land Owners
Traditional Landowners: The Jagera and Turrbal people




Public Architecture
Sustainable Architecture
PBI Australia
BCC Photographers
Project summary

Bonsai House is a public gallery exemplar of sustainable design; showcasing trees as art, it relies on principles of passive design, cooled by air movement through oxygen producing, carbon-dioxide absorbing, forest. Naturally lit by an existing pocket of sunlight the facility is secured by timber screens and bluestone from site with recycled ironbark bridge timbers as benches.

A bespoke gallery, the collection of buildings form a walled garden designed to display and secure the bonsai collection; host international exhibitions; provide a space for bonsai artists to work and foster the art of bonsai through public workshops. Forming the walled garden are a display pavilion, tea house, gatehouse, and educational workshop with a repotting meeting place for volunteers.

Bonsai House effectively captures the sunlight nestled between the existing bonsai nursery and surrounding stands of large trees, all of which were retained to help create the microclimate required for bonsai to thrive.

Bonsai House displays Australia’s largest publicly owned bonsai collection. This facility is exemplary in its contemporary design befitting a botanic display house, offering functionality for horticultural staff and volunteers, with inspirational experiences for visitors. Bonsai House encapsulates a cosmopolitan design creating a ‘sense of place’ by drawing on elements from the botanic gardens’ built environment palette.

Bonsai House achieves a difficult combination of security for the significant Bonsai Collection, whilst also providing optimum growing conditions. The all-access design incorporates a spacious interpretive and educational area for our visitors, featuring an engaging display gallery and flexible spaces for public workshops.

Project Practice Team

Carolyn Spresser, Public Building Designer & Graduate of Architecture, Design & Design Manager
Georgia Althoff, 3D Visualiser, Graduate of Architecture, Assistant & Documentation
John Kinnaird, Electrical Engineer, Electrical Design
Mitch Raymont, 3D Visualiser, 3D Visualiser
Romina Moscoso, Graduate of Architecture, Documentation
Tara Liverton, Project Officer Building Services Engineering, Electrical and Security Documentation

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Joyce Law, Sustainability Consultant, Brisbane City Council
Altus Group, Quantity Surveyor
Arborist Consultant, Brisbane City Council, Arborist
Brisbane Botanic Gardens, City Standards, Brisbane City Council, Landscape Softscape Design
Certis, Building Code Consultant
City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Building and Services Surveyor
City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Contaminated Land Service Consultant
City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Geotechnical Engineer
City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Planning & Environmental Consultants
Corporate Security, Brisbane City Council, Security Consultant
Heritage Tree Services, Arborist and Vegetation Impact Assessor
John McKee & Fraser Dalgleish, City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Project Management
Landscape Architect Consultant, City Projects Office, Courtyard Hardscape Design
Mikaela Haintz & Shakira Sellen, City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Community Engagement Consultant
Perry Naumann, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City Council, Bonsai Artist
Rajendra Padhee, Connected Communities, Brisbane City Council, Access and Inclusion Consultant
Stantec, Hydraulic, Water and Civil Engineering Consultants
Structural Engineering Consultants, City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council,
Vesna Boseva-Velkovska & Dave Sansom, City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council, Contract Management

Bonsai House | City Projects Office | Photographer: BCC Photographers

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