Bricks from PGH Bricks & Pavers played an important role during the restoration of The Boundary Hotel in Brisbane, helping the architects realise their vision for the iconic pub.

Established in 1864, The Boundary Hotel located on Boundary Street in Brisbane’s West End continues to be a popular watering hole among locals despite its numerous incarnations over its 150+ years of existence.

Commissioned for the redesign project, KP Architects was given a brief to celebrate the rich history of the original building while reinvigorating its life as a ‘social incubator’. KP Architects director Kon Panagopoulos said he was excited to ‘peel away the layers that had been applied over time’ to reveal the pub’s original fabric and structure.

“It was to have the feel of a traditional pub but with a modern approach to meet the demand and expectations of the local market,” Panagopoulos explained. 

All the new walls on the first floor addition were built with PGH Bricks’ Blanco Morada bricks. These bricks fit the ‘old meets new’ aesthetic sought by the client as they not only complemented the original brick and timber fabric of the building but also added a modern touch with their crisp white colouring. Contrasting colours were used for the old and new brickwork, with new interventions positioned away from the existing building to respect and accentuate its original form.

Brick serves as an excellent link between the old and the new during restorations in both commercial and residential projects. While brick is considered a traditional material that infuses buildings with warmth and history, it is also widely used in contemporary design thanks to the hundreds of colours and finishes now available. 

“The Blanco brick from PGH’s Morada range was ideal for this project because of its textural and tactile qualities,” Panagopoulos said. "We also liked its crisp white colour and felt that this combination would best complement the existing brick, clearly expressing what is new from what is old.”

Some of the existing brickwork was used to create a playful design feature with a large hole and striking neon sign that read ‘Just another brick in the wall’. There’s an interesting story behind this unique feature. During a site visit early on in the project, Panagopoulos noticed an opening in the existing wall that gave way slightly, dislodging several bricks. These bricks were randomly stacked in the hole by the builder, creating a sculptural formation. This was subsequently glued down as an installation with the neon sign adding an element of humour.

While the clever use of materials helped achieve the design vision, the pub’s layout was completely reimagined to give the property a fresh lease of life. New pathways now connect the existing and new spaces over the three levels. For example, what used to be a drive-through bottle shop is now a laneway that links Boundary Street through the ground floor to the upper levels. The original hotel rooms over the pub have been reinvented as function rooms while hidden storage areas on the ground floor have been opened up to increase the flow of space and light throughout. 

Additionally, a beer garden has been introduced with a light and colourful palette that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle – a unique feature in Brisbane pub architecture that got lost over the decades. There is also a perimeter deck that overlooks the outdoor dining space with a large retractable roof, and a roof terrace with glimpses of the city.

Despite its large scale and multifunctional design, with areas for drinking, dining, entertainment and events, The Boundary boasts a wonderful sense of fluidity and connectivity. The new design, which simultaneously celebrates the building’s history and also brings it into the 21st century, caters to the diverse range of patrons frequenting the pub with its broad appeal.

Photographer: Scott Burrows