Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman recently announced leading property advisory and national urban design firm UrbisJHD as the winners for the redevelopment of King George Square, the primary municipal meeting space in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD. They have been selected to undertake the redevelopment design in a national competition that attracted 200 initial entries and a short list of six finalists.
Cr Newman said he was excited about the innovative ideas proposed in the winning design. "The realisation of this design will reinvigorate King George Square as a tourist and visitor destination for the Brisbane CBD. The major feature of UrbisJHD’s winning design is a large deck structure at the rear of the square that mimics the popular verandah on many Brisbane houses and takes advantage of our subtropical climate. The deck will serve as both a viewing platform and a shaded recreation area for people to relax or enjoy a break in the fresh air.
“The ground level design features shaded areas, either through tree foliage or the deck roofing, enabling the Square to be functional at all times of the year. The proposed street furniture is innovative, including drinking fountains and seats, and ground lighting that interfaces with the Inner Northern Busway station below.”
Lord Mayor Newman said "This new layout is simple, but elegant, and doesn’t rely on current landscaping or design trends - it will be a source of pride for residents well into the future." The Square, developed as a public space area adjoining Brisbane City Hall in the 1960s, is designed to blend and integrate civic and ceremonial space with a major bus interchange and related commercial and retail activities. The UrbisJHD design proposal, called King George Square: A Space in Transition, emphasises the Square’s historic values and its evolving role as a vibrant place in a thriving city. James Tuma, Principal Urban Designer with UrbisJHD, says the scheme provides a coherent and contemporary design solution that meets functional requirements, while projecting an attractive and timeless character. “The existing Square was more or less built as an afterthought to cover over an underground car park, so despite previous attempts to improve the amenity, it has remained an under-utilised plaza which compromises the grandeur of City Hall.
“The square will evolve from a two dimensional experience to one that includes the qualities of depth and time. The scheme establishes a series of layered ‘skins’ that provide transition between the activities below the square, to those on the surface. Our scheme also highlights the benefits of a collaborative approach, with other leading consulting firms including Architectus, Bonacci Group, Rider Hunt and RCP contributing to the winning design.”
Suters Architects were placed second and Design Inc were placed third. UrbisJHD will work with Council over the next twelve months to develop detailed plans and construction will commence in 2007, in conjunction with works on the Inner Northern Busway. For more information see www.brisbane.qld.gov.au
[Ed: The UDF Editor is Senior Urban Design Advisor to UrbisJHD]
Also in UDFQ 75: September 2006:
- The Suburban Backyard - its meaning and use in the contemporary suburb
- Interculturalism and the built environment
- Is money all that matters in Sin City?
- ‘Meeting Again’ - Melbourne’s new Sandridge Bridge precinct
- What value is urban design?
- ‘Petrol hits $5 a litre’
- Urban Design Fast Track WA
- Sustainable cities need strong local government
- Prestigious design competition for Antarctic Gateway