Former outback pub turns heads at global exhibition

The renovation of the Globe Hotel in Barcaldine is being celebrated at the Venice Architectural Biennale.

A former outback pub in Queensland has been picked to fly the flag for Australia at a major exhibition celebrating the world’s best architecture. 

The Globe Hotel in Barcaldine is among 15 entries from Australia chosen for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Positioned at the junction of two major highways in regional Queensland, the hotel underwent a $2.5 million makeover in late 2014 after being rescued from ruin by Barcaldine Regional Council.

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Brisbane’s m3architecture and Brian Hooper Architect took on the project, converting the hotel to an art gallery, tourist information centre and bank.

“The theme for the Australian pavilion is ‘repair’ and there’s a lot of issues related to repair in this project,” Michael Lavery of m3­architecture says.

“Originally it was thought this building would have to be demolished and to the council’s credit they agreed to repurpose it rather than build something new.

“For more than 100 years it’s been a bit of a gateway experience for people through that part of the world and we wanted Barcaldine to keep that experience for ­people.”

Before the hotel’s renewal, the council estimated that of all visitors to the nearby centre of Longreach, only 3-5% would stop and spend money in Barcaldine. The council now estimates that number to be 10-15% — a potential 300% increase.

“The Barcaldine Regional Council recognised when the economy was changing they needed to focus more on tourism and they looked at key projects out on the main street that would encourage people to stop,” Mr Lavery said.

“One of the greatest struggles most regional towns have is getting people to stop and spend five minutes.”

Lavery is hopeful the Globe Hotel’s place at the Bien­nale would see even more people drop by.

“Anyone who stops in a regional town is rewarded because the people are fantastic, you discover things you didn’t know existed and you hear stories you’ve never heard before,” Lavery says.

The Venice Architecture Biennale includes participants from more than 60 countries and runs from May 26 to November 25.

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