Going Out on a Limb to Challenge Views on Architecture

Large-scale tree installations and a replica living room from a remote Indigenous community has highlighted the power of architecture in a new State Library of Queensland exhibition.

Purpose built: architecture for a better tomorrow examines how new approaches to design and building materials can have a transformative effect on how buildings and communities meet the challenges of the future.

The exhibition, a joint initiative of State Library and The University of Queensland’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning, unveils sustainable and recycled materials (such as 3D printed algae and clay bricks) and cutting-edge ideas from leading experts.

A foam replica of a Gununa (Mornington Island) living room reveals the nature of existing housing in the remote community and how culturally sensitive design has the potential to radically transform lives.

The poignant installation sits alongside historical drawings from 1975 (on loan from the National Museum of Australia) and drawings by students from 2022 — both addressing the future of Gununa.

Large-scale tree installations, built by FARM Architectural, using timber by-products, also help highlight innovations in repurposed building materials.


Exhibition highlights:

  • Forest to Fibre to Timber explores experimental ways to use and build with timber.
  • Gununa (Mornington Island) designing homes for remote First Nations communities.
  • Greenslopes, Brisbane examines how suburbs can tackle urban water management, energy use and population growth.
  • Digital Twin showcases an integrated virtual replica of UQ’s St Lucia campus. By examining its digital twin, designers can test ideas before they are applied at scale.
  • Robotic Manufacture with Novel Materials explores the way materials can produce innovative and sustainable building materials in the future.
  • Rare architectural plans (including the works of modernist architect Karl Langer)


Free curator’s tours, design workshops and a free talk series can be booked online.

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