Brisbane repurposes, renews and reconnects its waterfront, despite a dumb highway

Like so many other waterfront cities around the world, the urban planners of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia cut the city off from its water, devoting that prime real estate to a dumb urban highway.

The epitome of bad urban waterfront planning?
Photo courtesy of Historic Queen’s Wharf.

That highway can’t be removed now, without excessive cost and disruption, so the city is doing the next best thing: redeveloping a portion of the waterfront that reconnects the area in innovative new ways, while repurposing the property to bring in new residents (essential to revitalization).

In the process, they will be renewing the devastated ecology of the waterfront by restoring mangroves. It’s a great example of the 3Re Strategy: repurpose, renew, and reconnect. It’s called Queen’s Wharf Brisbane.

Now, on September 7, 2017, it was announced that Queen’s Wharf Brisbane has become the first project in Brisbane to be awarded the coveted 6 Star Green Star Communities rating.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) uses the Green Star Communities rating tool to highlight achievements of precincts, neighborhoods and communities for social, environmental and economic sustainability outcomes by assessing them across five categories: Governance, Liveability, Economic Prosperity, Environment and Innovation. I (Storm) keynoted a GBCA event in Sydney in September of 2015, and was very impressed with their level of professionalism and dedication.

The multi-billion dollar integrated resort development at Queen’s Wharf achieved the rating based on how its design will enable social, environmental and economic sustainability outcomes.

One of the strongest rating categories for Queen’s Wharf Brisbane is its “liveability” – with the Green Building Council of Australia applauding the development’s design of new public spaces and green space for outdoor events, arts and culture and how these will promote active and healthy lifestyle options.

Destination Brisbane Consortium Project Director Simon Crooks said the 6-star rating was a great achievement for the project. “We are very proud to receive this 6-star rating, because it acknowledges our efforts to ensure we have designed a new CBD precinct in a way that understands and supports how people want to live, and takes into account the scale of the development’s footprint,” Mr Crooks said.

Queen’s Wharf Brisbane has not been designed in isolation, we have considered how the development will be used by all who will come in contact with it including CBD residents, locals, interstate or international visitors. We have worked to ensure the design of this development will positively support different lifestyles.

Features include:

  • 50 new restaurants and bars.
  • More than 1000 premium additional hotel rooms.
  • 2000 residential apartments.
  • Reactivation of some of the city’s most significant heritage buildings.
  • More than 2000 jobs during peak construction and 8000 operational jobs.
  • The 100 metre Sky Deck.
  • 12 football fields of public space.
  • A new pedestrian bridge from the CBD to South Bank.

Green Star is an internationally-recognized sustainability rating that is a trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings, internal fit-outs and communities.

The council viewed our design as one that encourages the development of healthy and active lifestyles, and rewards communities that have a high level of amenity, activity and inclusiveness. Features such as the upgraded bikeway, the pedestrian bridge, walkways including the Mangrove Walk along the river’s edge, and car park numbers were all included in the assessment for our 6 Star Green Star Communities rating. We are proud of the rejuvenated public space our development offers, and it is great that the council has recognised how our development’s new public spaces – which will be the equivalent of 12 football fields of space – will provide great new ways for people to enjoy Brisbane,” Crooks continued.

Our plan seeks to activate the waterfront opposite South Bank and help connect the city with the river…(such as) with the development of the Neville Bonner Pedestrian Bridge,” Crooks added.

Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will showcase fresh food and local produce including meats, fruits and seafood across a variety of 50 bars and restaurants from morning to night.

There are also plans for digital infrastructure across the precinct including Wi-Fi to provide immediate information for visitors and guests about entertainment and activities at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane. “The scale of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane is like nothing our city has seen before, and it is vital that our plan therefore maximises the linkages and opportunities for Brisbane’s existing offerings with our future development,” Crooks concluded.

All renderings courtesy of Cottee Parker Architects.

See Queen’s Wharf website.

Watch 4-minute video of the future revitalized Queens Wharf.

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