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    Farewell to a legend of Australian architecture: Blair Wilson of Wilson Architects dies aged 83

    Nathan Johnson

    Blair Wilson of Wilson Architects, Australia’s longest running architecture dynasty, has passed away at aged 83, leaving behind an architectural legacy, a wife and four children.

    Born 8 October 1930 at Kangaroo Point, QLD, Blair was educated at the University of Queensland where, upon graduating, he received the Queensland Institute of Architects’ Memorial Medal. He took his first practicing job at Clifford Tee & Gale Architects in London and also advanced his architectural education at the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, University of York.

    On his return to Brisbane in 1956, Blair commenced practice in partnership with his father R. Martin Wilson and worked on a number of major projects including the Greek Orthodox Church at South Brisbane, the Stanthorpe Civic Centre, extensions to the University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science, the Committee of Director of Fruit Marketing (COD) Building at Brisbane Markets and the Albany Creek Crematorium.

    Above: The Greek Orthodox Church, South Brisbane by Blair and his father R. Martin.
    Below: The Civic Centre and Library, Stanthorpe by Wilson architects. Images: The Photo fanatic & UQ.

    Following the death of his father in 1967, he continued the practice under his own name until 1971 when he was joined by his wife Beth Wilson, a landscape architect. The firm then became Blair M Wilson & Associates. This was incorporated in 1976 and now practices under the trading names of Wilson Architects and Wilson Landscape Architects.

     


    Above clockwise from top: The Wilson Office, his wife Beth and son Hamilton Wilson.

    Other works completed by the firm during Blair Wilson’s 40 years as principal include buildings for both Brisbane Grammar Schools and Stuartholme School, the Civil Engineering Complex at QIT, the engineering and education complex at the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, Science buildings at Griffith University, The Greek Club, South Brisbane, further work at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre and completion of the master planning of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

    Above and Below: Then and now: the John Kindler Memorial Lecture Theatre by Wilson Architects. Images: UQ.

    He was National President of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (1976-77), President of Queensland Chapter RAIA (1970/72), President of the Brisbane Repertory Theatre (1973-76), Member of the National Capital Planning Committee (1976-82), President of the Alumni Association of the UQ (1979-87), Senator of the University of Queensland (1980-86) and President of the Rotary Club of Hamilton (1993-94).

    His awards include the QIA Memorial Medal for Studentship in Architecture (1954), RAIA Bronze Medal for Meritorious Architecture for the design of the Kindler Theatre at the QIT (1974), and the Clay Brick Award for the design of the La Boite Theatre (1973).

    Blair is survived by his son Hamilton Wilson, who will continue as the principal architect for Wilson Architects. Wilson Architects recently celebrated 130 years as a continuous architectural practice.

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