2009 Ideas Competition - Winner

Team: Matthew Bennett, Erin Field, Marcus Trimble

Company Name: Super Colossal

Website: http://supercolossal.ch

Blog: http://supercolossal.ch/2009/10/21/gold-coast-cultural-and-civic-precinct-masterplan/

Bio: Super Colossal is an emerging practice that works across a wide range of projects including public projects, temporary structures, urban proposals, residential and memorials. Super Colossal is actively engaged in promoting Australian architecture locally and abroad through its website, events with the Australian Institute of Architects, and Pecha Kucha night.

Design Report (pdf)

The winning scheme by Super Colossal is a bold concept with a gleaming ‘Island of Culture’, a man-made island inspired by the Gold Coast’s tradition of canal development and connected to Evandale, Surfers Paradise and Chevron Island with three pedestrian bridges.  The island’s perimeter is wrapped in a luminous scalloped, glazed curtain that glows at night.  Housed within its walls are mayoral chambers, performing and visual arts facilities, some council staff offices, restaurants and public space.  Over on the Evandale site, much of land is retained as a public space with paths and trees.



The Report of the Competition Jury can be found below. It outlines the jury’s assessment and provides commentary on the awarded schemes.  The jury also considered the role of the “ideas competition” and how the resulting ideas and propositions could drive wider discussion about ideals and intentions and noted that:

'The competition should provoke the discussion of issues and concerns, that it should inform public debate about critical aspects of environmental and cultural issues relevant to the site and to the City’s vision and that it should inspire by revealing or suggesting opportunities that sit beyond the frame of conventional planning processes.’

‘The ideas elicited through this competition will help to inform an exceptionally thorough and ambitious brief for the ongoing development of the Cultural Precinct…one that plans for success rather than one that timidly sets goals compromised by the fear of criticism.’


Winning scheme by Super Colossal team members Marcus Trimble, Matthew Bennett, Erin Field

In common with many entries this proposal recognizes that the site of the Gold Coast Cultural and Civic Precinct lies within the flood plain of the Nerang River and is therefore vulnerable to inundation from predicted future sea level rise; initially flooding low-laying land and later almost half the site.

Responsible approaches to meeting the danger of predicted flood events are to prepare either to defend the site or to retreat.  This scheme creates a decisive subdivision over the site to defend the land by both consolidating and raising the low-laying areas to form the precinct as an Island of Culture.

By designing a defended cultural and civic precinct as a hybrid - ‘is it a building island or is it a landscape island?’  this bold scheme presents a new urban type for the Gold Coast whilst simultaneously recalling the ancient islands in the Laguna Veneta such as the Isola Murano and Isola San Michele.

The winning scheme proposes a civic square, located at the heart of the Island of Culture envisaged as a grand outdoor place with a central address at the intersection of three bridging pathways that reach out from the island to the community.

The bridges connecting the city to the Island of Culture can also extend pedestrian and bicycle routes through to the civic square creating the potential for a lively public place at the centre of this visible, iconic landmark.

By concentrating the civic and cultural functions on the Island of Culture the remaining site is proposed as open parkland not only retaining the green edge at this point in the city but also extending the opportunity to link with a sequence of forest parks that would create significant linear landscapes stretching into the south-west hinterland.  With the scarcity of public open space for the future flood-free City of the Gold Coast these open parklands will make a significant contribution.