- Article by Online Editor
- Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones
- Architect AECOM and Malcolm Middleton Architects
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Malcolm Middleton Architects and AECOM have completed a $2.8 million project in south east Queensland, delivering a new visitor centre and recreational spaces for the Gold Coast’s Hinze Dam.
The new centre is designed to educate visitors about the processes of water, with cast concrete ‘dam’ elements installed within the building, making reference to the engineering and construction of the dam, which first opened in 1976. A timber-clad function room within the visitor centre offers 180 degree views of the dam and surrounding parklands, and has been constructed using Silky Oak and Hoop Pine trees harvested from the site. Meanwhile, a range of interactive and educational initiatives give visitors an understanding of water catchment management, local habitat and history.
The building also retains strong connections to the surrounding site, with ramps below the centre leading to the adjacent parklands. Malcolm Middleton said: “The six parkland areas are linked by five native forest trails, creating intimate small scale natural environments and focused vistas through the use of geometric landforms constructed with materials that further reflect the dam wall construction.” Native plants have been incorporated into the recreational spaces to marry with the existing vegetation.
The project forms part of the $395 million upgrade for the 36-year-old dam, which also included raising the dam wall to increase the dam’s capacity, improving flood mitigation and other upgrades to meet the new state government’s safety standards. The site, which reopened in December 2011 after the four-year upgrade project, is a popular recreational site on the Gold Coast with facilities for walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing and kayaking.
Now in its eleventh year, Shaw Contract’s Design Awards program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the way people engage and interact with a space.