The Brisbane City Council has submitted a DA for it’s Brunswick Street Mall revitalisation project in the Fortitude Valley.
The $4 million revamp plans to renew the tired retail strip into a more vibrant urban space predominantly focussed around the construction of five new retail ‘pods’.
The new design of the mall has similar retail pods to the successful Queen Street Mall redevelopment in 2007, which receives over 26 million visitors each year.
The Brunswick Street Mall Placemaking Pods provide an engine for change by both physically and programmatically acting as a catalyst to shift or reset our aspirations for the kind of public realm we would like to enjoy here.
Through innovative architecture and creative use the Pods take on the shape of that thing that we wish to become, infecting the spaces around them, changing ideas, remaking possibility by example. It is a self funding machine that feeds itself, growing its own prosperity through its own success and guaranteeing its sustainability.
The hope is to catalyse change – that is; be the small but critical antigen that induces a reaction to organically reverse the downward spiral of urban quality afflicting the Brunswick Street Mall so that a new place responsive, publicly engaging, fundamentally delightful urban experience become reputable mainstay of this important place.
Architecture – Engaging Design
The Pods will be architecturally interesting. As little icons of ‘groovy’ design, the pods are emblematic of the creative culture of the Valley.
Quirky, small scaled, architecturally adventurous the pods will affect physically the look and feel of the mall punctuating the remade public realm with moments of interest and intrigue and throwing the challenge to the privately controlled retail spaces to renew and reinvigorate their facades in response.
Through language and detail the architectural response can replay the valued qualities of the Fortitude Valley’s place identity, reinforcing the distinctive sense of place that defines the Valley.
Offer – Interesting Uses
Because these retail spaces will belong to Council the tenant mix can be curated to reintroduce into the mall those interesting, creative, quirky offers that have been displaced by chain retailing.
Subsidised rentals, short term leases, retail flexibility can encourage a variety of attractive retail ideas and return the ‘Valley Creatives’ back into the primary public space of the mall.
This will create a core of interesting, engaging, attractive uses that will in turn shift the retail opportunity for surrounding private spaces allowing organic shift to occur in the defining uses of the mall as the placemaking change takes hold.
Pod 1 & 5 Reference Design
This scenario may provide for a larger restaurant and/or bar. A typical pod may offer more than 25m2 of internal space with seating on the ground and on the roof top spaces (if provided).
A full commercial kitchen would allow full preparation of meals on site. Restaurant seating would be provided in adjacent outdoor space. Operation mode could include but is not limited to a café/restaurant mode of service with a severy bench at the edge of the Pod serving into the Mall. An example of this mode might be a Gyoza Shop or a Noodle Bar.
This Pod design is typical of both Pod 1 and Pod 5 in terms of size and potential use as a Food and Beverage outlet. Should an alternative use be propose, then the base principles of this Pod and Pod 3 should be incorporated.
Pod 2, 3 & 4 Reference Design
This offer may provide a basic shell tenancy and aim to bring place-marking activities to the Brunswick Street Mall. Robust, flexible, easily reconfigured spaces provide a suitable environment for bespoke uses such as education and training, community workshops, gallery or display style installations by artists.
Wall space would provide hanging space for works allowing an artist exhibition to appropriate adjacent outdoor space and further activate the Mall space. Another use could include a salsa dancing venue, with the pod providing a backdrop to the activity.
Emphasis would be given to flexibility or enclosure and adaptability of services. Power, lighting, water and drainage present particular opportunities.
The project is currently under construction and it anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.