Brisbane needs provocative design – and we need to support it.

The 2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition illustrates some of Brisbane’s most creative proposals to boost our city’s international standing.

As evidence of Brisbane’s recent flood disaster gradually washes away, calls for an array of changes from council buy backs to an increase in height limites for flood affected areas are voiced by members of the community.

One thing is clear, there is a sense of renewed energy in Brisbane’s planning sector. Our old ways of thinking should – and will have to change in order to cope with future flood events that will inevitably hit our city again. 

While Brisbane continually searches for its own identity, numerous creative and visionary ideas are popping up which will give Brisbane the identity or icon we have been longing for. Some say that our mighty Brisbane River is our identity – the River City. This may be true, however what can we do to solidify Brisbane’s connection with its river? That answer may lie in the 2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition. The exhibition which is an independent initiative of the emerging architectural practice Heise Architecture, runs from the 26th of Feburary to the 25th of March and is being held at the Coffee Supplier – a coffee shop situated down an Elizabeth Street laneway.

The ideas in this competition vary in size and genre and illustrate visionary Brisbane infrastructure, transport and civic projects, some of which should really be considered. A preview of a few ideas are outlined below. For more information on the exhibition see the website.

1) The Brisbane Opera House by Jesse Lockhart-Krause 

This proposal which featured in BrisbaneDevelopment.com a few months back by Jesse Lockhart-Krause is probably Brisbane’s most realistic and needed infrastructure project. With the construction of Brisbane’s new Supreme Court complex powering ahead, the old courts which sit on prime riverfront land will become obsolete. This, coupled with QPAC being at capacity may force action on this issue sooner then we think. Jesse’s proposal highlights the potential for the site to become a new cultural and entertainment hub for Brisbane. Lets just hope that whoever is in charge creates something truly iconic and doesn’t waste a once in a lifetime opportunity.

2) The Renaissance Tower of Brisbane by Dean Dyson (WINNER)

‘The Renaissance Tower Of Brisbane’ recognises that in a world where natural resources are being stretched to the limits of human consumption the value of food and water becomes ever more important in world sustainability. In order to create ecological change, first our cities must change.

The proposal aims to suggest alternative methods for producing, experiencing and understanding agricultural industry, combined through an array of innovative and alternative methods and processes. Through transformative and adaptive design, a semi-active Brisbane River shoreline landscape is revolutionized into a living working landscape capable of reinventing the city of Brisbane for a future as ‘The Australian hub of sustainability’.

3) Waterground by Collectif Map

Creating a network of water passages that unify important places of the city by linking them together will improve accessibility in Brisbane. This network will use existing water passages to ensure lower cost and less reconstruction. Passages would be also created to make the Water ground more efficient.

Consequently, The City Cat’s transportation system will also be improved and will see itself expanded with new stops.  More over, it will also promote a new ecological way of transportation with the help of self-service kayak and canoe; where one will be at every important spot of the city.

4) A Place to Catch (Sea) Breeze by BLOXAS & Chian Quah.

Brisbane city is located approximately 21kms inland from the nearest coastal edge. Subsequently it is starved of any significant reprievable, or recurrent, sea breeze. This, coupled with Brisbane’s unforgiving sub tropical summer humidity, was the idealistic catalyst for this design concept.   Slender, sculptured towers range in height depending on their topographical location.

An amalgamation of their atmospheric height, form, and diverse material applications and techniques, allow the ‘installations’ to collect dew, moisture, and condensation from the atmosphere on their varied planes throughout the winter months. Surface treatments include mesh, corrugated and dimpled metals, timber/moss, the density of concrete, and ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene).

5) Northbank Masterplan by Sharlene Anderson

Initially submitted as part of an Architectural Design project at QUT that focused on a master-planning exercise for a film studio, cinema and civic space on Brisbane’s controversially neglected North Bank, this competition has revitalized an opportunity for me to discuss what Brisbane really needs.

I am proposing a new approach to the way we think about Brisbane City’s web of expanding and dominating infrastructure, and the space surrounding it.  Rather than building upwards or outwards, why not build underneath?   This raw urban space, often unoccupied, and purely transient, has the potential to be explored and rediscovered, like many ‘left over’ spaces around Brisbane. During dusk, the sun penetrates the space for the first time, reflecting water onto the underside of the highway, and creating a warm glow that contributes to an ambience that negates any highway noise pollution.

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