Resourceful, inventive and determined, Trevor Reddacliff made a huge contribution to the urban environment of Australian cities, particularly Brisbane. John Simpson celebrates his distinguished career.
In recognition of his distinguished career as an architect, Trevor Reddacliff was appointed to Life Fellowship of the RAIA in March 2005. The citation, signed by then President Warren Kerr, read, in part, “He is a most deserved recipient of an RAIA Life Fellowship for his 40-year career improving the quality of the built environment.”
Graduating in architecture in 1965 from the University of New South Wales, Trevor worked in the office of Ancher Mortlock Murray and Woolley before travelling to Toronto, Canada, where he joined John B Parkin and worked on the Toronto Dominion Tower, a major downtown office complex designed by Mies van der Rohe.
Trevor talked often about this time in North America and liked to recount one of its highlights, a visit to the Glass House, the New Canaan home of Phillip Johnson.
A personal tour of the iconic house and environs was the result of Trevor’s characteristic charm and persistence, which even the famous architect was not allowed to resist.
On returning to Australia he practised in Coffs Harbour. In 1972 he amalgamated his practice with Hansen and Tod (the firm which completed the Sydney Opera House together with the Government Architect and Littlemore + Littlemore). The new firm of Tod Reddacliff Stockley Johnson grew to have offices in Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and Coffs Harbour.
Trevor resigned from that firm in 1977 and the following year he became one of the first architects to join Lend Lease. In 1982 he moved to Brisbane and was responsible for the procurement and project management of the Riverside Centre, the first international standard building in the Brisbane CBD. Designed by Harry Seidler, this building initiated a new level of design expectation for commercial development in Brisbane.
After the success of the Riverside Centre, Trevor was sought out by the Queensland State Government and the Brisbane City Council to oversee the city’s urban waterfront revitalization programmes. In 1989 he was appointed to the board of the South Bank Corporation, which was charged with the responsibility to redevelop the former World Expo 88 site.
Trevor was appointed Chairman of the Urban Renewal Task Force in 1991 to control the urban renewal of Brisbane’s inner city waterfront. He was rigorous in insisting on high quality architecture and was intensely involved in informing and reviewing the design projects to ensure the preservation of the significance of the historic wool stores and the creation of civic community spaces.
As well as frequently working with well-established architectural practices he particularly enjoyed working with younger emerging architects whom he admired, and often assisted in the development of their practices.
Trevor practised architecture and urban design in a most resourceful and innovative manner. His skills in lateral thinking and problem solving are a testament to creative professional education combined with a keen sense of opportunity and challenge refined over many years at the forefront of the development industry.
Trevor’s reputation for understanding the interrelationship between architecture, environment and economics led to several other major urban design leadership and advisory roles, including Spencer Street Station in Melbourne, designed by the talented English architect Nicholas Grimshaw. He was also chairman of the Maryborough and Townsville Urban Renewal Task Forces, the latter being the largest urban waterfront redevelopment in North Queensland.
Commissions in China were added to an enormous portfolio of urban design influence, especially in Pudong, Shanghai, Yichang and Ningbo.
In 2004, Trevor was appointed by Brisbane City Council to head the Brisbane Master Plan Task Force to prepare a new master plan for the Brisbane CBD and West End. This project required him to lead and inspire a team of prominent architects, planners and authority representatives to produce a vision for the future of Brisbane’s CBD.
In addition to devoting an enormous amount of time and energy to specific professional activity, Trevor was a member of numerous boards of private companies and was chairman of a number of community organizations such as Brisbane Warana Festival, Brisbane Festival, River Festival and Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal. In recognition of his extensive contribution to the community Trevor was awarded an Order of Australia in 1998.
Trevor Reddacliff was an extremely high achiever, very demanding of himself as well as those around him but blessed with an infectious and often cheeky sense of humour. He was a tenacious supporter when appropriate and a formidable opponent when necessary.
Trevor’s death on 20 December 2005 is an enormous loss to all who knew him. His wife Sue, son Tom and daughter Rachel will miss him dearly. The architectural profession and the Brisbane and Australian communities have lost a great champion.
John Simpson is an architect and a friend of Trevor Reddacliff.