‘The Reveal’ – A Gold Coast Design Competition

Late last month I attended ‘The Reveal’ – an announcement of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Design Competition. Mitchell Brandtman formed part of the Nikken Sekkei team, led by internationally renowned Architects Nikken Sekkei. Our team’s design scheme progressed into stage 2 of the competition in June this year, shortlisting us with only two other firms out of a total of 75 submissions from around the world.

We knew we had proposed a bold scheme – actually ‘bold and arresting’ in the organiser’s words – and that it would push traditional boundaries and thinking. It was strikingly different yet playful and inclusive. Very Gold Coast, we thought. And I must say that personally, it was some of the most unique and challenging cost planning that I have done in my career!

Here’s what the Jury had to say:

“Nikken Sekkei’s striking design reflected the æweb of water’ which defines both the Gold Coast and surrounds the cultural precinct site.

The web is incorporated, both dramatically and subtly, into the submission’s landscape and built forms. Most spectacularly, a grand æwater stage’, with dimensions of 195.9m x 195.9m, celebrates the founding year of the Gold Coast in 1959.

These twin references, of the city’s founding date and the ubiquitous presence of water û shimmering, flowing, falling û celebrate the site’s location and its coastal character.

Centrally located, the water stage links three landscape zones; nature park to the north, water front to the north east, and the civic field to the south west. A series of smaller landscapes are created as sub-divisions of these three primary zones, such as a rain forest, grass land, water garden and indigenous garden.Dual approaches from a Chevron Island green bridge deliver visitors either to ground-level or the elevated water stage.The five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste are engaged across the site.

The water stage doubles as a multi-purpose performance venue and promenade, offering arresting views of the city skyline and hinterland. Depth of water is cleverly controlled, ranging from only a few centimetres deep to dry, providing opportunities for small and large performance spaces to emerge. It also mirrors a typical æQueenslander’ roof, offering protective shade to the central amphitheatre below.

Both the New Arts Museum, in the form of small, separated pods, and the Living Arts Centre are also partially nestled below the water stage.

In the Living Arts Centre the existing building is retained and enhanced, with two theatres connected by a shared stage accommodating up to 1800 people. At night, its wrapped fly tower, protruding through the water stage becomes a digital screen for outdoor cinema or illumination.

An holistic approach is taken to precinct programming, with the whole site treated as a museum. The covered amphitheatre provides opportunities for mixed programming, with potential for audience viewing both under and on top of the Water Stage”

Unfortunately our team’s scheme did not take out the top prize on the night however was held in high regard by the Jury and competition organisers. We are proud of the concept and how far our team got in the competition. It’s just such a shame that we all won’t be able to see this concept come to lifeà

Congratulations to the ARM Architecture team for their winning design.

For more information on the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct visit the website here: www.goldcoastculturalprecinct.info or feel free to email myself directly.