Howard Smith Wharves to Inject Life into River Edge

7 Min Read
Artist's impression

After almost eight years of planning and consulting, a DA has finally been submitted for the redevelopment of the long awaited Howard Smith Wharves.

The DA includes a new boutique hotel building, multiple refurbished heritage buildings as well as two new lifts to the top of the cliffs for park and Story Bridge access. A new observation deck is planned to be built with views of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge.

Artist’s impression
Artist’s impression

According to town planning firm Urbis:

The proposal is consistent with the theme of Brisbane’s globally competitive economy. Particularly the proposal achieves the specific outcomes and land use strategies of this theme as it provides a development contributing to Brisbane’s City centre as a vibrant and stimulating place of diverse uses and 24-hour activities.

This is demonstrated by the variety of uses that undertaken on the site. Furthermore, the proposal is 80% open space and is public accessibly at any time of the day. Due to the sites location between the cliff and the Brisbane River is also offers a stimulating place for residents and visitors to of the area to enjoy.

Artist’s impression

Click below to view place making plan in more detail:


The Art Series Hotel

Located under the impressive and imposing Storey Bridge, and hugging the contour of the cliff, the hotel exists as a highly articulated, ‘earthy’ building. Integral to its design was the idea that the building blends in with the backdrop – the cliff.

Artist’s impression
Artist’s impression

This approach encouraged a design that allowed the heritage buildings along the water – front to be uncompromised, and clearly distinguishable. The hotel building takes great reference from the faceted and fragmented nature of the cliff, whilst also picking up on the characteristic red and sandy, earthy tones.

Artist’s impression
Artist’s impression

Comprising 164 suites, the hotel also offers five retail and food and beverage spaces at the public ground level, a garden oasis, pool and sun lounges at level 3, and spectacular views across the river, and of the bridge. A high level of accommodation is proposed for the Art Hotel, within the highly activated and reinvigorated Howard Smith Wharves precinct.

Artist’s impression
Hotel floor plate

Building A - Outdoor Dining Deck

This refurbished building will house a restaurant than can access a new outdoor dining deck under the shade of the large existing trees near the entry of the site. The existing waterfront deck will also be available for outdoor dining.

Building B – Laneway and Outdoor Dining

Restaurants will be inserted into this heritage building. The existing waterfront deck will also be available for outdoor dining. A new Over Water Bar deck will extend into the river under the Story Bridge between Buildings B and C. It will potentially be below the existing deck level to improve the proximity to the water.

Overwater Bar

The Story Bridge is an impressive prospect from beneath and also a key visual axis through the wharves site. This combined with the vision for a thriving food and beverage offer in the old wharf buildings has provided the impetus for the creation of a new Overwater Bar.

Building C – Brewery Beer Garden

This refurbished historic wharf shed building houses a new brewery with adjacent outdoor dining and beer garden spaces. The cliff side of the building will have a gravel, artificial turf and paved beer garden surrounded by planting including hops plants that reference the beer making process. Several large tanks used in the brewery process will be located in a highly visible external location at the base of the cliff opposite the brewery entry and beer garden.

Brewery Tanks and Hops Garden

The brewery tanks and hops garden will reflect the materials of the working wharf and add value to the characteristics of place. The brewery tanks will be softened and complement by the use of hops plantings, giving the impression of a working landscape that is reclaiming the industrial character of the wharves.

Exhibition Building – The Waterfront Edge

The rear corners of this elegant new building are strongly grounded in the site through the incorporation of vertical planting. This building forms the focus of potential future river based entertainment where a barge may be moored in front of the building. As a result there are significant areas of terracing in front of and either side of the building that can accommodate large crowds. A ramp allows for DDA access from the building down to the waterfront path.

The existing timber deck will be extended along the front of the new Exhibition Building to provide a continuous path of travel. Between the Exhibition Building and Building E is a large waterfront amphitheatre allowing large groups of people to watch future entertainment on a river-based barge in front of the Exhibition Building. A portion of the amphitheatre will extend down into the water to allow access for launching kayaks.

Construction is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2016 and is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

The DA Number for this project is A004162925.

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