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Gold Coast Cultural Precinct competition announced

ARM Architecture’s scheme for a spiralling gallery amid sprawling gardens and theatres wins the competition for a new Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.

A spiralling tower in a sprawling web of gardens has won the design competition for the new Gold Coast Cultural Precinct at Evandale. Gold Coast Lord Mayor Tom Tate announced the judges’ unanimous decision on 21 November 2013, bringing the eight-month international design competition to a close.

The wininng scheme by ARM Architecture was chosen as a “playful and inclusive scheme” incorporating everything from skateboarding to theatre and opera, contemporary art, fashion, green links to the city and public open gardens. Centred around a fourteen-storey tower as one of the key built components – the New Arts Museum – the scheme frees up valuable space for gardens and outdoor performance areas. Underpinning the design is a geometric web theme that links all the precinct elements, and establishes a logic for staged construction.

“This fits with the city’s plans to have the precinct accommodate live site uses when we host the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Tate said. “Council hopes to deliver a first stage of precinct development – including car parking, a green bridge and some Artscape landscaping – in time for the Games.” At the outset of the competition, Tate stated the City of Gold Coast council’s ambition was for Evandale to be “a landmark to match the nature of the site: framed by the Nerang River with views of the city skyline and hinterland mountains. The winning design will evolve into the city’s creative commons – a place for residents and a must-see visitor destination.”

Design director Howard Raggatt said ARM’s final detailed submission is the result of four thousand hours of work by fifty individuals across fifteen specialist fields. Their wining scheme for the precinct includes:

  • An expanded Living Arts Centre, incorporating a new 1200-seat theatre, a versatile 350-seat black box theatre, a refurbished existing performance theatre accommodating up to 600 people, a 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre, and a central Great Terrace.
  • A subtropical outdoor garden Artscape, with the Evandale Lake as a focal feature and a spiral-helix encased green bridge providing a dappled shade connection to Chevron Island, and
  • A fourteen-storey New Arts Museum, that takes visitors up through the galleries to explore the art, the views, and in true Gold Coast style – offers a bungy-jump from the external viewing platform. The tower format frees up site space for other uses, which, importantly, include green space.

The competition opened in March 2013, attracting seventy-five entries worldwide in Stage One and three teams – Australia’s ARM Architecture; Japan’s largest architectural firm, Nikken Sekkei; and the local/international consortium of CRAB_Vogt_DBI — were shortlisted in June 2013 to compete in Stage Two’s intensive twelve-week design development.

Entries from both competition stages – including large-scale models, renderings and animations – will be showcased to the public from 22 November to 15 December 2013 in The Reveal: Designs for a New Cultural Precinct exhibition at City Gallery, The Arts Centre Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise.

Competition jury

  • Professor Gordon Holden, Griffith University foundation Head of Architecture (chair)
  • Michael Sorkin (New York-based architect, academic and author)
  • Professor Geoffrey London (Victorian Government Architect)
  • Greg Forgan-Smith (architect and Gold Coast Council Urban Design Advisory Board member)
  • Professor Helen Armstrong (Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture, Queensland University of Technology, and Associate of the University of Western Sydney’s Institute for Culture and Society)
  • Destry Puia (General Manager, The Arts Centre Gold Coast)
  • John Kotzas (Chief Executive, Queensland Performing Arts Centre – QPAC), and
  • Tom Tate (Gold Coast Lord Mayor)

More about the competition brief and jury here.

Exhibition of entries

The Reveal: Designs for a new Gold Coast Cultural Precinct
22 November – 15 December 2013
The Arts Centre Gold Coast

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