Maurice Hurst (architect)

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Maurice Hurst
Born 1929
Queensland, Australia
Died 2003 (aged 73–74)
Occupation architect
Years active 1946-2003

Maurice Hurst, was one of Queensland's leading architects of the Noosa style of architecture. Maurice Hurst is considered a forerunner in Australian Architecture. Having trained and worked in England, he then returned to practice his skills in both architectural design and drafting. Not only a style innovator and a conservation pioneer, Hurst acted as a staple of Queensland’s domestic architecture for more than half a century. Mostly working in the Gold Coast and Brisbane regions, Hurst defined and shaped the area stylistically and spiritually for years.


Born 1929 in London, Maurice Hurst emigrated to Australia in 1958. He eventually settled in Queensland. Growing up in the area allowed Hurst the unique perspective that would latter influence his stylistic directions and pioneering of new style.

Hurst trained at the Brixton and Hammersmith School of Building and Architecture. First developing skills in drafting and architectural annotation, it was during this period that it is believed Hurst developed his trademark sketching style and visualization techniques.

After receiving his Masters in 1952, Hurst launched into a series of stints of employments with various architectural firms and practices in London. He is also noted to have worked with some urban planning offices at this time. This continued until 1958 whereupon Maurice Hurst returned to Australia where he found employment with the Architectural firm of Ford, Hutton & Newell. During this time he was part of design teams who worked on major projects such as the Church of England in Thargomindah (1959) and the new town hall of Gumdale (1960). At Thargomindah, Hurst’s team were at the forefront of adaptation of religious architecture using established conventions while acclimatizing to Queensland’s tropical conditions. Equally, at Gumdale Maurice Hurst endeavored to provide a new space for civil function yet still conserving stylistic trends of old.

Yet it was during the late 60s and 70s that Maurice Hurst made his greatest impact on the Architectural community, specifically in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. Domestic Architecture comprised a fair proportion of Hurst’s work with such notable works like the Roe and Frost houses. This period also holds special significance in Hurst’s career as it is commonly associated with the genesis of the Noosa style.

In 1996 Hurst was awarded the Architect of the Year by the Board of Architects of Queensland and the State Government of Queensland. After a long and industrious career, particularly in Queensland where a majority of the body of his work can be found, Maurice Hurst died in November 2003. Less than a month later Hurst was honored at the exhibition Cool: The 60s Brisbane House,[1] a collection of drawing and models from prominent Queensland Architects of the era. And again in January 2004, Hurst was recognized for his illustrious career receiving Australia Day Honors in the field of Architecture and Social Contribution. At the event Royal Australian Institute of Architect’s (RAIA) National President David Parken reflected on Maurice Hurst’s career, stating:

"Maurice Hurst was best remembered for pioneering conservation architecture before the term was coined. He produced a new benchmark for sensitive low-scale development in Queensland’s coastal resort towns and was a central force in developing an architectural genre, the Noosa style.[2]


1996 – Architect of the Year presented by the Board of Architects of Queensland / Queensland State Government

2004 – Australia Day Honors presented by the AIA

Notable works[edit]

One of the initial high-rise apartment blocks to be built in Brisbane, Glenfalloch in New Farm was an impressively sized building in 1950s in contrast to the single story riverside houses. The modernist design was saved from flooding due to an ingenious system of wooden slats, heavy plastic and sandbags. If water got into the foundations of the building it would compromise the entire structure.

As architects frequently used by the Anglican Church during the 1950s, this firm designed many churches of which these are examples – the first often illustrated in Australian architectural histories as an example reconciling traditional ecclesiastical form to the tropics, The second (not realised) in an even more extreme climate has a square plan for changes in liturgy, and multiple roof vents which recall vestments.

  • New town at Gumdale, 1960

Worked as the conceptual drawer on the speculative proposal for a new town after British precedents, made at the end of a building boom which started with the lifting of war-time building restrictions and ended with credit squeeze at the end of 1960.

  • Frost House, 1965
  • Roe House, 1963
  • Nicholsons, Indooroopilly
  • The Keep, Kenmore
  • Budley, Alexandra Headlands


External links[edit]

  • Australian Institute of Architects [1]
  • Architecture Australia [2]


  • Donald Watson and Fiona Gardner, Well Made Plans, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, 1998
  • Robert Riddel, Significant Queensland 20th century architecture: A report, Queensland, 2005