Go West...The Burra Way

Go West...The Burra Way

Go West...The Burra Way

1 Formal CPD Point
Available On Demand


The former West’s Furniture Showroom was designed by Dr Karl Langer and completed in early 1953. According to the Queensland Heritage Register, the Showroom was influential in promoting modern design principles and inspirations in those days. Sold by the West family in 1963, the Wickham Street facade of the Showroom was eventually converted into a conventional shopfront. Join us to explore the cultural significance of the formal West's Showroom and its conservation and adaptive reuse by Riddell Architecture. The conservation project was awarded a Gold Medal in the National Trust of Queensland Awards and the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Heritage Award.
This session opens a series of formal CPDs: Modernist Legacy and Adaptive Revival.
Note: The following sessions will be developed and released upon completion of the relevant stages of project management. 

Series of Formal CPDs: Modernism Legacy and Adaptive Revival.

4 formal CPD Points in total.
Available On-Demand

This series aims to equipe you with a comprehension of the best practices of cultural conservation, adaptive reuse and sustainable retrofitting of a heritage-listed building. Four Sessions present a case study of the West's Furniture Showroom at 620 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Australia. In 2023 the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) purchased the property for the Queensland Headquarter.
The case study integrates critical reflections on modernist architecture legacy and revival in Queensland and in-depth interview with the acknowledged heritage architect Robert Riddel. Further, it provides insight into the preparation of a design brief and selections of the appointed architect, consultant team and procurement model. The post-occupancy evaluation of the lates adaptive reuse and retrofitting wrap-up the series.    

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course participants should be able to:

  • Better understand the conservation principles of places of cultural significance in Australia
  • Advocate an architect’s professional responsibility for conservation and maintenance of places of cultural significance. 
  • Analyse opportunities and constrains associated with adaptation and management of a place of cultural significance. 
  • Select the principles of adaptation (compatible use) with a minimum impact on the cultural significance of the place and disturbance of the fabrics.
  • Identify and validate necessary changes to retain cultural significance and appropriate interpretation of a place. 

NSCA 2015 Performance Criteria

This course will deliver outcomes related to the following Competencies from the 2015 National Standard of Competency for Architects:

PC 2.1
Comply Identification, analysis and integration of information relevant to siting of project.
PC 3.3
Design response incorporates assessment of the physical location and relevant wider regional, contextual and environmental issues. 
PC 3.4
Design response incorporates assessment of relevant legislation, codes and industry standards. 


PC 9.1 
Knowledge and implementation of appropriate practice model to ensure efficient, effective and ethical professional service.
PC 9.7
Knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements and obligations in regard to architectural practice, practice management and registration as an architect.  


NSCA 2021 Performance Criteria

This course will deliver outcomes related to the following Competencies from the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects:

PC 1 Comply with the regulatory requirements and obligations pertaining to practice as an architect, including legislation, professional codes of conduct, obligations for continuing professional development and professional indemnity insurance.
PC 9 Be able to apply contemporary and emerging building procurement methods. This involves identifying the most appropriate form of delivery for a project, including risks, mitigation, and adaptation strategies, and integrating appropriate construction contracts and consultancy contracts and/or agreements.

PC 25 Be able to draw on knowledge from the history and theory of architecture as part of preliminary design research and when developing the conceptual design.
PC 26 Be able to undertake site, cultural and contextual analysis as part of preliminary design research.
PC 29 Be able to develop and evaluate design options in terms of the heritage, cultural and community values embodied in the site, and in relation to project requirements.

Topic 1. Dr. Karl Langer Legacy and Heritage Conservation in Queensland, Australia

In this leading presentation, Luke Pendergast critically reflects on the Burra Charter (The Australian ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, 2013) and its implication for managing heritage places in Queensland. Further, Luke provides insight into the role of Dr. Karl Langer in promoting modernist architecture in Subtropical Queensland and introduces the West's Showroom Case Study via the site walk-through. This presentation is enriched with a real-time video shooting of the premises before the next redevelopment and sustainable retrofitting in 2024.


Luke is an architect and heritage consultant based in Brisbane who conserves historic buildings and places. He has practiced in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Germany, and Ethiopia and established his reputation as an accomplished architect and conservation author, reflected in his portfolio of work and diversity of projects.  

A graduate of the University of Queensland, Luke became a registered architect during his internship at the Architectural Practice Academy through the Department of Public Works. He joined Riddel Architecture in 2009 prior to its merge with Conrad Garget and has led each project he has been involved with. A key focus of his work ethic is targeting project success through a process of detailed planning, precedent benchmarking, rigorous designing and collaboration between consultants, contractors and the client to ensure project objectives are achieved. An active member of the Australian Institute of Architects, being the current chair of the Queensland Chapter’s Heritage Committee, Jury Captain of the AIA Queensland Heritage Awards, member of ICOMOS and past co-organizer of Brisbane design speaking events. 

Topic 2 - Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of The West's Showroom

In this session David Gole and Luke Pendergast join to discuss the inspiration and practicality behind the adaptive revival of the West's Showroom.


David is a Principal of Conrad Gargett and a leader in the field of heritage conservation, adaptive reuse and contemporary additions to heritage buildings and sites. He has built a respected career locally and internationally, living and working in London, the USA, Italy and Burma across a broad range of building typologies. His portfolio reflects a strong capability for delivering highly regarded, award-winning designs. Formerly a Director of Riddel Architecture, he has honed specialised knowledge and skills in conservation and contemporary design. David was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study conservation in Italy and the UK in 2000, and later undertook training in Heritage Impact Assessments with UNESCO in 2012. He spent a year based in Myanmar, Burma in 2015 as a Senior Heritage Architect with the Yangon Heritage Trust, advocating for the heritage-led development of downtown Yangon and providing expert advice to support the reuse and development of over 60 significant heritage buildings. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture (1st Class Honours) from Queensland University of Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts – History from the University of Queensland, where he now teaches as an Adjunct Professor.

Topic 3 - Revealing a Modernist Gem

In the interview with Robert Riddel, Fiona Gardener discovers the story of Robert's fascination with the West's Furniture Showroom. From the time he first saw the showroom as a teenager, to the early 2000s his sleuthing resulted in him to rediscovering it. The showroom was almost unrecognisable as a second-hand white goods store. Robert recounts the serendipitous events that led to his practice purchasing and adapting the building as the Reddel Architecture studio. Robert talks about Laurie West who commissioned the emerge Australian architect Karl Langer to design the Furniture Showroom for him, the nature of West's furniture business and the aspiration for the design. He explains how fortuitous circumstances of the original Langer drawings being help by the State Library Queensland, Laury West being alive in his 90th and a careful examination of the building's fabrics resulted in the award-winning conservation project.


In 1982 Robert Riddel founded his practice Riddel Architecture in Brisbane which merged with Conrad Gargett in 2012. He began studying architecture at CTC (QUT) in 1964 and completed a Master of Design at RCA London in 1973 and a Diploma from the Architecture Association London in 1976. On returning to Brisbane, he worked with Richard Allom and taught Design and History at QUT. There was from the beginning an interest and respect for Heritage and Adaptive Re-use as well as his becoming a councillor of the National Trust of QLD. Early projects included additions to the Law School at University of Queensland and the conservation of Maryborough City Hall after fire damage. Conservation projects followed including Brisbane Customs House, Brisbane City Hall, Spring Hill Baths, Qld National Bank, Glengallan homestead and Wests furniture showroom.
In 2008 Riddel completed a PhD at UQ on the life and work of R.S Dods which spawned the publication of Selected Works. After the merger with Conrad Gargett, Riddel worked on two important Conservation Management Plans for both Australian Parliament House and the Qld Cultural Centre, as well as editing a history of Conrad Gargett (125 years). After retirement in 2017 he was awarded an AM in the following year


Fiona Gardiner is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Architecture. She has contributed to the identification and promotion of the hidden heritage of women in Queensland architecture through exhibitions, heritage listings and the protection of their work. She has helped to develop official policies promoting heritage protection within government agencies and the local community over many decades. She further lifted the profile of heritage through partnerships she formed across government, communities and universities. The Fryer Library at the University of Queensland has benefitted enormously from her heritage research.



Non Members $74
Members $49

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