2009 Ideas Competition - Commendation 2

AACP Commendation

Submission:  Gregory O’Brien

Team:  Gregory O’Brien

Company Name: LVO Architecture Pty Ltd



The genesis of this design idea lies in the desire to re-establish a respectful relationship between man and nature and to demonstrate this through the recreation of an exemplary ecosystem. This ecosystem then lends unique identity to this cultural place.

The reclamation of the site attempts to redress historical instances of insensitive coastal development which stripped ecosystems bare and hardened the interface between land and water in order to expedite the sale of land or the establishment of platforms to build upon.

This proposal seeks to re-establish a natural waters edge and the provision of wet-lands, marshlands and swales to allow for inundation and a potential manifestation of water level fluctuations through climate change.  An overlay of high ground is achieved for buildings to house various cultural functions and over that again is a network of pedestrian and cycle paths that enable a myriad of routes to traverse the site and to access different buildings.  The elevated pathways allude to the “lighter touch” with which man should engage with nature.  The ground plane remains accessible to pedestrians to explore the various spaces created by the network of wetlands and waterways.  The elevated path system is an alternative and a “retreat” proposition that can accommodate intermittent flood events but still give access to all cultural facilities.  A superimposed layer of photo voltaic cells provides shading to the elevated paths and electricity for the site.

Whilst the buildings defer to a topology that asks for green roofs and walls they each are proposed to express an identity pertinent to their various uses.  The major buildings closest to Bundall Road are those that provide landmark structures to celebrate the civic roles and the pursuit of education and innovation.

The network of paths and the arrangement of buildings, generally to the extremity of the peninsular leaves a new town square in the centre which is suitable for events, festivals and public assembly.  This space is clearly and easily accessible from Bundall Road and the bridge link from the east and is contained by low-level buildings. 

A dynamic bridge structure connects the tip of the peninsular with Surfers Paradise and providing a route for pedestrians, cyclists and modern public transport.  The sinuous form of the bridge with intertwined structure to allow for different modes of movement is an innovative concept worthy of further exploration. 

Unlike other proposals which arrange buildings around streets or important view corridors and axes this proposition of a web of elevated paths and islands for buildings risks being illegible and difficult to negotiate. A brightly coloured ribbon structure provides a way finding device towards important buildings, access points and destinations.  Whilst unresolved in its current stage the device which is also designed to provide shelter, folly and interest could be further explored as an orientation device across the broadly proportioned peninsular.

True to its title “threading people – place and ecosystem” this proposition is refreshing because it elevates the importance of natural systems I achieving a sustainable future.

As the driver for the precinct “Nature” would bring a unique and iconic status to the Gold Coast’s cultural heart.