PRAX Studio has unveiled a masterplan vision for the redevelopment of the floor-ravaged Toombul shopping centre which was inundated during the February 2022 floods.
The plans developed by PRAX Studio aims to articulate the community’s needs and desires for the future of the site, taking maximum advantage from this once in a generation opportunity to re-design the key piece of infrastructure.
Stephen Pratt, Principal at PRAX Studio revealed that there has been a sense of loss felt by locals as a result of the decision to close the centre.
“Not only was it the local shopping hub but as a venue and a local landmark it occupies a place in the collective memory as the setting for an array of life events – from the prosaic to the life changing – that have taken place over the last 54 years since the centres opening.” – Stephen Pratt, PRAX Studio.
According to PRAX Studio, it is their hope and intention that the masterplan vision for Toombul will be a useful tool to help articulate the needs and desires of the community during the upcoming engagement process, providing an alternative visualisation of the enormous potential that the site holds.
Mirvac, the site’s owner, has recently announced that plans for redevelopment of the site are currently being drawn up and that engagement with the community will soon be sought.
The concept masterplan proposes an equivalent sized shopping centre to be reinstated on the site, configured for a similar range of retail tenants including large format supermarkets, department stores, specialty shops, cinemas and food, entertainment and beverage outlets.
However the design seeks to transform the 1970’s car oriented inward-looking retail sheds into an open, outward looking, permeable and landscape-focused shopping experience. Instead of wrapping a sea of asphalt parking around the centre, subtropical landscaping would permeate the site to celebrate Brisbane’s subtropical climate.
“Wide, open air malls running north-south create permeable through-site links allowing pedestrians, light and air to penetrate the site while a porous perimeter maintains views to the landscape from the internal malls.”
“The opportunity is taken to externalise food and beverage outlets via landscaped alfresco terraces at both mall levels. The retail food court should be an open, green, airy and light-filled experience that maximises views to nature.”
– Stephen Pratt PRAX Studio.
A green design response is proposed for the vision of the site, with flood resilience a main factor within the plan. Instead of ignoring the stormwater canal, the adjacent waterway canal would be turned into a thriving green ecosystem and community heart which would flood proof the site for a 1 in 500 year flood event.
In terms of public and active transport, a new pedestrian footbridge to Toombul station is proposed as well as integration of the existing bus terminal, ride share porte cochere and new green transport links with priority given to pedestrian access.
The plan does also allow for increased density and mixed-use buildings throughout the site with low-rise residential development along the site’s northern boundary which is envisioned to create a smooth transition in scale and use while commercial uses are oriented towards the noiser and more impermeable Sandgate Road corridor.
Additionally, a central small business and start-up incubator hub is proposed which would provide supported co-working and workshop spaces for local businesses with the possibility to directly transition into the larger commercial office spaces.
A programmed outdoor public green space links the Kalinga Park green precinct to the Kedron Brook Bikeway and Albert Bishop Park sporting precinct. The landscaped outdoor space extends the amenity of the shopping centre and supports activities for a range of ages and abilities.
Sustainability also drives the design of the new buildings and several overt responses are envisaged including green roofs, passive solar shading to all glazed elevations, centralised chilled water plant, on-site solar energy production, green transport prioritisation and a focus on health and wellbeing.
Masterplan Key Metrics:
- Total retail GLAR: 48,000m2 (approx. 47,000m2 existing)
- Total commercial NLA: 23,000m2
- Total residential NSA: 31,500m2
- Total parking: 1,900 retail, 350 residential, 120 commercial. (approx. 1,820 existing spaces)
PRAX is a Brisbane-based studio specialising in commercial, residential and multi-residential projects in the eastern states.