What is Brisbane’s ugliest piece of architecture and why?


Brisbane has its fair share of far-out architecture – what do you reckon is the biggest eye-sore?

It could be you think some of our modern buildings to be ghastly. Or perhaps a building that’s got some history that is rather horrendous.

No matter if it’s in the CBD or your local suburb, list the ugliest buildings below.


  1. they are demolishing the transit center…and thank god for that.
    Regarding the Telstra building [ windowless one next to the gabba], its actually a data comms center and houses no people for the majority of the building. These types of building are in every city [ owned by local Telco companies] where they are there to house data comms equipment and so forth and not offices, thus no windows and aesthetic appeal.

  2. The Telstra building at the Gabba is a disgrace and the planner who allowed it to go there should be charged for crimes against humanity. Agree also with Transit Centre and most others mentioned. Fortunately two horrors have disappeared, the QUT lab building and the TAFE at Kangaroo Point.

    I don’t mind the modern stuff, even the ventilators at the ends of the tunnels.

  3. This is a tough one as there is so much poor architecture in Brissie. God, where to start? BTC is hideous, stephans needle d*ck. all who commented on boundary/vulture street corner. Plus my personal concrete monsttrcity, the exhibition centre in south bank.

  4. That hideous, hideous windowless Telstra building that dominates the Woolloongabba skyline. It’s an absolute disgrace and being so close to a world famous landmark makes it even worse.

    Love the Kurilpa Bridge – it’s such a breath of fresh air when it comes to boring bridge architecture

  5. The most ugliest building in Brisbane would have to be the TAB Building at Albion. It’s is soooooo ugly!!

  6. Another vote for the Roma St Transit Centre.. just hideous and I’ve lived in Brisbane all my life and refuse to use the toilets there at any time of day, talk about feeling unsafe!

  7. That hideous church at Brigidine College, Indooroopilly. The shopping centre’s not much better!

  8. I know it’s not a building, but the seats outside Hungry Jacks on Queen st which are always occupied by scene/hipster kids is pretty ugly………just saying

  9. @Kate – Yes Yes Yes! Bloody Stefan’s bloody SkyP3n!s oops I mean SkyNeedle.
    Ugliest phallic-symbol ever to blight a skyline.
    Yes, it was built for a good reason (Expo88); yes it’s ‘art’ – but does it really need to be heritage listed? Can’t he put it in his backyard (or at the bottom of the sea?) instead of showing it to our international visitors. Does the council/state condone advertisements from all businesses in this manner?

  10. Yes! The ATO building at Mt Gravatt! Dreadful – especially now it has streaks of mould down it. But don’t forget the ATO building at Chermside – just as bad. Must have had the same architect. What could they have been thinking?

  11. @Laura, that ugly purple building at Woolloongabba is an exhaust tower for the Clem 7 tunnel. There is a matching red coloured tower near the other end of the Clem 7 tunnel at Bowen Hills.

    My gong for the ugliest buildings in Brisbane go to the Parliamentary Annexe and the ATO building at Mt. Gravatt., both very bland and ugly in design and always looking unkempt and dirty!

  12. Theres a large block of an apartment building in southbank, near the Tafe and QCA, that looks like it has awning painted on aroun the windows – its just a big concrete block with make up on! No real expression of materials, no response to Brisbane climate and no grasp on Brisbane culture.

    The Kurilpa Bridge is a fantastic expression of engineering and GOMA is the best building in Brisbane (followed closely by the Powerhouse), a real expression of a Queensland vernacular from two of our greatest architects.

  13. I too rather like Brisbane Square but QUT Gardens Point is a hotchpotch of ugly or mismatched architecture.

  14. LOVE Hartley Teakle. LOVE Brisbane Square – looks like a painting from Malevich. LOVE Kurilpa Bridge – it’s like the great painting “Blue Poles”. HATE Toowong Village – it looks like a brutal shiny blue helmet menacing the city. Would never be built that way today.

  15. Telstra building at the Gabba is among the worst. Brisbane City Council building at top of Queenstreet is a gorgeous building, a credit to the city, admired by international visitors.

  16. Kurilpa Bridge. It looks unfinished, a mess. Yuk!
    GOMA. It looks like a chook shed. No style at all. We could have had some thing special, instead we got suburban architects doing a very plain shed. It would look fine in my back yard, not a show piece on our great river bank. Yuk.

  17. It has got to be that god-awful wheel. If you were going to build a tourist attraction, don’t you think it should at least offer a view? I don’t think it’s even as big as the Ferris Wheel at the Ekka… it’s not a wheel – it’s a training-wheel…

  18. I can’t believe no one has mentioned that god awful foot bridge across the river, running parallel to the Go Between bridge that looks like it was made by a spider on crack.

  19. no offense, but the whole city is tacky, cheesy and horrendously outdated. At least the buildings’ architecture complement one another with their laughable facades. Judging by the lack of pride, Brisbane’s sister city ought to be dandenong. Do yourselves a favour Brisbane..bulldoze your city and start from scratch. Have a theme in mind. If you want ideas, hire some town planners and architects from melbourne.

  20. The Uniting Church in Indooroopilly. Huge concrete kennel. Dirty stains all over it. Peeling paint work. Woof.

    The Engineering building at QUT, visible from the Captain Cook Bridge. Dirty concrete, ugly exhausts and plant equipment at the top. I hear it’s coming down soon.

    The new Hale street bridge overpass on Coronation Drive. It looks wonky from the citybound direction, because the concrete walls are straight segments, not curved to follow the curve of the bridge. Saved a few dollars I guess. But then, most overpasses are ugly.

  21. I miss Brisneyland so much! I really do. My two eldest children were born there. And I studied architecture at QUT – inspired because I found this little city kind of beautiful, with huge environmental and climatic potential. Brisbane folks, just be yourselves! Adore what you have. Yes, the Transit Centre needs works. Urgently.

  22. That ugly thing on the corner of Boundary and Vulture Streets in West End…the one that looks like a mash-up of Turkish and Greek styles. Hideous!

  23. Laura, The show Brisbane Extra when it was on tv said that big purple and white thing was to disguse the ventilation outlet for the new clem 7 tunnel and the reason of the colour was to represent the Jacaranda tree (can see a pic and explation here http://www.ourbrisbane.com/transport/2370803.clem7-tunnel-ventilation-outlet-2-woolloongabba). There is another structure near the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital that is red and white but can’t remember what tree that represents.

  24. Brisbane Square is awesome (it’s like Federation Square in Melbourne), very modern with a variety of eateries including Cool Beans & Baguettes, The Coffee Club, Shinglee Inn, Subway, Salad Bar, Sushi Bar, Newsagent and a Beauty shop.  Complete with outdoor tables and park benches, you can either dine at one of the many cafes or sit on the park bench soaking up the sunshine.  Brisbane Square is also close to the top end of the mall, close to Queens Park & the Casino with lots of trendy bars and cafes along George Street also.  Plus every Wednesday there are the Farmers Markets to enjoy.  If you are lucky enough to work in this building, the views of the city, river and mountains are gorgeous, especially on a clear day.

  25. Laura: That massive old windowless building at Woolloongabba! Wtf is it? Why is is so much bigger than everything else? Why has it never been cleaned?and yes, Hartley Teakle at UQ comes a close second – it even has an ugly name.

    It’s the Telstra Exchange. It’s where my internets come from!

    Anyway, the ugliest piece of architecture is the new Tank st bridge, which isn’t finished yet (but looks very close to it).

  26. That massive old windowless building at Woolloongabba! Wtf is it? Why is is so much bigger than everything else? Why has it never been cleaned?

    and yes, Hartley Teakle at UQ comes a close second – it even has an ugly name.

  27. @laura it is actually not a building but a big exhaust pipe-like thing for the new tunnel bypass thing they are building.

  28. I have to choose just one??? Don’t get me wrong, I love my city, but man there are lots of ugly buildings…

  29. Definitely the Transit Centre!!! Horrible first view of a city! What are they doing there inside? Are they refurbishing or what?

  30. That horrible building on top of the Brisbane City Library… if that is the Council building, I’m embarrased for Brisbane! Guh, I hate that place. Although, Roma St comes a very close second – I agree that it must be a terrible place for new arrivals to be introduced to!

  31. The Roma St Transit Centre. Not only is it a boring, utilitarian building, but it is in such a hideous state of disrepair both inside and out. Embarrassing that this is so often the first view of Brisbane many people get.