Super Colossal wins Gold Coast Ideas Competition

Oct 20, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Architect Super Colossal

Emerging Australian architecture practice, Super Colossal, has won the ideas competition for the Gold Coast Cultural and Civic Precinct Masterplan.

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s fastest growing regions, with current forecasts estimating the population will grow from 500,000 to 900,000 by 2030. The competition asked entrants to propose ideas for a 16.5-hectare site at the centre of the city, bordered on three sides by rivers and canals.

The Super Colossal team – Marcus Trimble, Matthew Bennett and Erin Field – proposed an island of culture, with a shaded civic square at its centre. Connected to the neighbouring parklands and the city by bridges, their plan wrapped the island in a scalloped, glazed curtain wall that glows at night.

The plan explored the idea of creating a network of pedestrian and cycle paths, integrating the new island into the fabric of the city. Their competition submission stated, “the bridges connecting the precinct to the surrounding city will not only provide access to the venues and workplaces of the precinct but will form the centre of a much needed pedestrian and bicycle link across the city; the civic square then being part of a critical sustainable agenda.”

The competition hoped to encourage discussion for the future of the site, with the jury saying that it “should inspire by revealing or suggesting opportunities that sit beyond the frame of conventional planning processes”, with the winning entry meeting the expectation that the proposal should provoke, inform and inspire.

The jury commended Super Colossal’s proposal, which created a hybrid of a ‘building island’ and a ‘landscape island’. “This bold scheme presents a new urban type for the Gold Coast… The winning scheme proposes a civic square, located at the heart of the ’Island of Culture’ envisaged as a grand outdoor place with a central address at the intersection of three bridging pathways that reach out from the island to the community.”

Super Colossal’s masterplan is designed to be adaptable for future use, and the main level of the precinct sits seven metres above sea level – providing protection from possible flooding. The team also identified space for further expansion after completion of the plan, as well as incorporating ESD in the proposal. The shell of the island provides wind and solar protection, with the skin allowing for natural ventilation and protection as required.

The competition was judged by: Professor Michael Keniger (Jury Chairman), Professor Brit Andresen, Philip Follent, Ms Rosie Kennedy, and Chris Gee.

*Images* courtesy Super Colossal
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