Dr Graham Bligh

26 November 2008

Award of a Doctor of the University honoris causa
Mr Graham Bligh


Noted architect Mr Graham Bligh began making patterns and house plans as a small child. A love for drawing, particularly landscapes, developed when he was aged in his 40s. He discovered the joys of printmaking and related media during a summer workshop at the Studio West End in 2005.

His work has been described as sharp, functional, modern and deceptively simple with his minimalist and clean-edged structures and exciting usages of metal a courageous departure from the brick-on-slab houses colonising Brisbane in the 1960s.

He was committed to creating ecologically sustainable structures long before the concept was part of society’s everyday language and consideration.

Prior to retirement in 2000, he was Chair of Bligh Voller Nield, an international architectural practice.

He was awarded Queensland Architect of the Year Award for 2002 from the Queensland Board of Architects in recognition of his distinctive style.

He played a pivotal role in encouraging collaboration between multiple practices on major design projects and provided extensive leadership and guidance as a committed mentor to architects.

Mr Bligh’s work included the World Exposition 1988 site, Colonial Stadium in Melbourne, The Australia Stadium in Melbourne, the Hyatt Regency Coolum, the Queensland Supreme Courts complex, and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. His work also included the Brisbane International Airport Terminal which was internationally recognised for its design.

His civic interests included service as Director of the national board of the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre and a member of the board for the Flying Arts connecting artists with the community.

His recent focus has been the establishment of the Sylvia Bligh Memorial Scholarship in conjunction with a dedicated solo exhibition of his artwork and launched at the UQ Art Museum in October 2008.

The scholarship will provide essential assistance to a PhD student undertaking research into treatment of resistant depression.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career, I present to you Mr Graham Bligh, Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Queensland and Master of Built Environment from the University of Technology Sydney, for the award of a Doctor of the University honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.


Doctor of the University honoris causa