School of Architecture

Friday 18 January 2019

Geoffrey Pie. Image: courtesy Don Watson

This article was first published on Architecture Australia.

Brisbane architect Don Watson remembers the life and work of Geoffrey Pie, a Queensland architect known for his advocacy of heritage buildings, who passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Few Queensland architects have risked their livelihood by opposing the government.

Geoffrey Pie was an exception, bravely taking a stand over the threatened and subsequent demolition of Brisbane’s Bellevue Hotel.

But above all, he was one of Queensland’s leading architects, maintaining his practice for fifty years.

The son of prominent businessman and politician Bruce Pie and graphic artist Jean Wright, Geoffrey decided at an early age to become an architect, drawing inspiration from Ravenscraig (1942), the family’s house at Aspley, designed by Brisbane architect Mervyn Rylance.

While boarding at Toowoomba Prep and the Southport School, he spent holidays at the family’s house at Southport, also designed by Rylance in 1937, where he developed a full understanding of beach-front living.

While enrolled in the six-year part-time Diploma of Architecture course at the Central Technical College, his lecturers included CWT Fulton and Athol Bretnall.

At the University of Queensland, he was taught by Austrian émigré Karl Langer and recently arrived English architects Maurice Hurst and John Morton.

During the course, Pie was employed by HS Macdonald (designer of his father’s factory at Lutwyche), Collin and Fulton and, from 1960, Robin Gibson.

At Gibson’s recently-established office, he joined Gabriel Poole to work on houses and shop fit-outs which attracted national attention.

This trio were to dominate late twentieth-century architecture in Queensland.

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