ARM wins Gold Coast Cultural Precinct design competition

Nov 22, 2013
  • Article by Online Editor

ARM Architecture has won the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct international design competition with a ‘seriously fun’ proposal.

Unanimously selected by an eight-member independent design competition jury, the proposal was praised by jurors for being ‘playful and inclusive’, with the precinct plan aiming to entice residents and visitors to experience and participate in production of arts and culture.

Mayor Tom Tate praised ARM for a concept that ‘understands and celebrates’ the Gold Coast’s vibrant and egalitarian culture.

“With everything from skateboarding to opera and contemporary art to fashion, it has the potential to put out the welcome mat to everyone to come and enjoy the precinct and engage with the full diversity of Gold Coast creativity,” Mayor Tate comments.

ARM’s design introduces a geometric ‘web’ – or voronoi – theme, linking:

  • an expanded Living Arts Centre incorporating a new 1200-seat theatre, versatile 350-seat black box theatre, refurbished existing performance theatre accommodating up to 600 people, a 10,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre and a central Great Terrace
  • a sub-tropical 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 14-storey New Arts Museum, enticing visitors up through the galleries to take in the art, the view, and perhaps a bungy jump from the external viewing platform.

Reminiscent of other vertical exhibition buildings, including the Eiffel Tower, Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Tower, and the Guggenheim Museum NY, the tower frees up site area for other uses – including green space.

Design Director Howard Raggatt says ARM’s submission was the product of 4000 hours of design effort by 50 individuals, representing 15 specialist fields.

Mayor Tate notes that the proposal is flexible and adaptable in its layout, making it ideal for staged construction, which fits with the city’s plans to ensure the precinct can accommodate live site uses when we host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He adds that council hopes to be able to deliver a first stage of precinct development – including car parking, a green bridge and some Artscape landscaping – in time for the games.

Three teams, ARM, along with as Japan’s largest architectural firm, Nikken Sekkei, and local/international consortium CRAB_Vogt_DBI, were shortlisted to compete in the intensive 12-week Stage Two.

Entries from both competition stages will all be featured in THE REVEAL: Designs for a new cultural precinct exhibition in the City Gallery, The Arts Centre Gold Coast which opens to the public on 22 November for three weeks.

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