450 Queen Street is an inquiry into the future of post-demolition materials from a commercial tower in Central Brisbane. The project was supported by the IMA with our work shown in the exhibition, An Alternative Economics in April 2022.  

In 2022, demolition work commenced on 450 Queen, a 56 year-old commercial tower in the Brisbane CBD. Everything except the concrete slabs and columns is being removed and the building extensively renovated by Hutchinsons Builders. The project is a great example of adaptive reuse of an existing highrise structure.

In the leadup to demolition, Five Mile Radius catalogued demolition materials on one level of the building, and through conversations with the builder (Hutchinsons) and demolition contractor (Aztech) charted the predicted flow of materials post demolition. 

It was noted that none of the materials removed from the level surveyed would be up-cycled or reused in their current state. All materials were down-cycled; being shredded, mulched or melted to form new, lower grade materials. Our question is: what new enterprises are required to find ways of reusing material in its current state. 

Dated office furniture made up much of the demolition material. We collected this material, returning it to our workshop and reconfiguring the components to create four new furniture pieces using bits of charred recycled stud to extend the collection. 

Suspended Ceiling Light – Fluoro light fitting, Perspex desk divider, galvanised fixings
Bench seat – Desk shelf, recycled pine frame (charred)
Knobs – turned recycled timber (charred), aluminium desk end cap
Wall pocket – Desk shelf, shelf bracket, recycled timber (charred), desk divider felt pinboard

Gallery images credit IMA and Photographer Joe Ruckli. Thanks to Lara Damelian and Steven Baleva from Bond University for joining us for the project.


April, 2023

Institute of Modern Art



Ellie Farrington
Benjamin Emerton
Clare Kennedy

Aimee Crane

Lara Damelian

Steven Baleva