Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Competition
Rather than an identity-searching landmark, serving political aspirations, our proposition nevertheless seeks a bold resolution that dramatically improves the connection between the City, River-ways and Arts Precinct and opens up opportunities beyond the site. So as well as resolving the Art Precinct challenges we seek via strategic interventions, reclamations and architectural infill to provide the infrastructure to bring people together in order to exchange ideas, experiences and culture.
Despite its rapid growth over the past half century, the Gold Coast has been exempt from serious urban dissemination. Driven by political & developer ladened eyes, this fervent junkie was a fiend for the ‘faster,higher,stronger’ extremities rather than an integrated, sustainable and cohesive approach to urbanism and planning.
Robin Boyd’s description of this “fibro-cement paradise under rainbow plastic paint” resonates ever current. One could argue the formal expression of featurism coupled with a muscular tectonic is truly singular to the Gold Coast’s architectural style. Coupled with the transient nature of holiday makers and an invisible business district, it’s easy to draw comparisons with Vegas and the like. Though, for those who understand the city, it emanates an unpretentious and soft demeanour.
On the periphery of the city’s edge lies beautiful hinterlands. This is met by urban sprawl. The Nerang river slowly infiltrates this condition before the riverside mansions are suddenly shadowed by the monumental and eclectic neon highline. This is famously built right to the oceans edge. In this lies the spectacle. The Gold Coast’s built fabric, infused with trash culture and ‘play’ possesses possibly a deeper veracity and undertone, a wonderland for those who dreamt. This is not to suggest the Gold Coast is tawdry or insignificant, actually it is far from it.
The Gold Coast now finds itself in a special moment, spectacularly awoken from a wild romp to contemplate the night before and a new day that awaits. While we may never witness the ferocity and growth of the ‘boom’ times again, ‘pillars’ have been set. The anomolity of higher density living on the Gold Coast is precisely what other Australian cities crave, while the chaos, grit and spontaneity of Melbourne and Sydney is what the Gold Coast desires. Hence, what is severely lacking is a finer grain, bourne of street culture and pedestrianised realms. Embedded into this is the need for a city heart. Right now exists no better time to orchestrate a grass-roots arts and cultural scene on the coast, and supporting urban democratisation on a human scale.
By achieving immediate connectivity this proposition extends the Evandale site brief, and imagines further interventions. These responses borrow from the success of urban renewal and acupuncture projects before it, such as ‘Renew Newcastle’, often referred to as ‘emergent urbanism’ that encourages citizen engagement on low-cost urban platforms. Furthermore, it casts a wider net for a symbiotic exchange between artists, businesses and organizations.
Our scheme resolves the challenges of the Evandale site and provides immediate linkage with the heart of the city. This connection via an exciting snaking footbridge additionally allows a series of low cost interventions and initiatives to complement the scheme, so as to extend and challenge the boundaries of the Art precinct.
While many in foreign markets come to grips with unstable and volatile economies, we see little sense in creating the next Bilbao. Instead, we explore and propose the strategic infill of modest program in the under-crofts, in-between, and routes of everyday passage. These ‘seeds’, ‘platforms’ and ‘canvasses’ harness the cross fertilisation and spontaneity of everyday art, cultural dissemination and flow of ideas devised to showcase the dialogue between the city and its inhabitants.