Old home becomes two modern flats

Wilbar Flats, 52 Hawthorne Street, Woolloongabba

From old-fashioned timber house to iconic apartment block with panoramic roof-top views. Wilbar Flats is a good example of what can be done with an old, tired timber house in a good location.When the Wilson family home on the corner of Hawthorne and Fleurs Streets started to show its age in late 1939 the choice was clear: renovate, build something cost-effective or move. They decided on the first option and employed architect Edward J.A. Weller to design a building that would take advantage of their excellent location, be visually attractive but also produce an income.

The outcome was impressive: A new brick building with distinctive curved front and containing two two-bedroom flats was attached to the original home which was turned into two modern flats.

“Simplicity is the keynote in external and internal design – it ensures relative agelessness. where the old building has been made to worthily take its place beside the modern addition, by the simple expedient of removing such remnants of over-decoration as remained after the fusion of the buildings”. (The Truth, 14 April 1940, page 28).

The article from The Truth, 14 April 1940, page 28 gives details of the transformation and colour scheme chosen.A destructive super-storm on 27 November 2014 which affected large areas of Woolloongabba required the building to be vacated for a while and major repairs carried out. Since then the iconic building once again dominates the streetscape.