PRAX Studio Unveils Conceptual Vision for Toombul Shopping Centre

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Overview of Landscaped Public Domain from South-East for a Vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

Overall Site View from South-West. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.”

Pop-Up Food and Beverage Kiosks. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX
Alfresco Retail Activation of Public Domain. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

“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.

Overview of Landscaped Public Domain from South-West. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

Flood Mitigation Strategy Integrated into Landscape Design. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

View from Sandgate Road of Commercial Offices Over Bus Terminal and Pedestrian Bridge to Toombul Station. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX
Grace Street Residential and Open Air Through-Site Link. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX
Main Entry Porte Cochere and Elevated Residential Amenity Deck. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

View from Sandgate Road of Commercial Offices Over Retail Podium and Pedestrian Access. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

Water play area. A vision for Toombul. Source: PRAX

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.

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  • I get the impression reading this that this is a concept developed by Prax off their own bat. I don’t believe this is the plan that Mirvac is working on releasing this year. No doubt though, these plans will be circulated on social media as though they are the latter. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

  • These plans look exceptional and I believe it is something our area has been needing for a number of years. Schultz canal is still a worry and as it is tidal I can’t see how this can be made flood proof. The concept is modern, architecturally pleasing, and will suit the demographic of the area. I hope it now goes ahead.

  • Yes, this does look like a speculative plan. We’ll see what Mirvac proposes (if they ever get around to it!). Looks great, but only a small increase in parking spaces with all those residential towers (350 spaces) added? Inadequate parking is such a common condition with new developments.

  • While there are some great features here, there’s also some massive problems with this proposal, notably:
    1) Floor levels appear higher than existing, particularly close to Kedron Brook, so that would represent filling in the flood plain, which is problematic for external impacts.
    2) Location of valuable public assets (playground, waterplay) in a flood zone
    3) Legibility of the site, particularly related to the office component

    Look, this is a great start and given it’s an unsolicited design, it’s a valuable contribution, but ultimately it all depends on what Mirvac can make work economically on site.

  • Green washing at its best. Massive increase to car parking and further congestion woes!!! This is worse than the 1970’s car orientated development that came before it.

  • Why build a big bridge across sandgate road. When you could easily add a station to the airport line. This would all access to the airport and still gi e direct access to the city.

  • Would be the ideal location for affordable homes for key workers. Where is the train station for the project?

  • Tim and Mark: there’s an existing train station (Toombul station) just across from the shopping centre (hence the proposed bridge over Sandgate road.)

    Utilising this existing train station makes sense, since it already services the existing residential highrise apartments right next door.

    Building a new station on the airport line doesn’t make sense, since (a) this would be far more costly than a pedestrian bridge over Sandgate road and (b) a new station would disrupt express train services from Eagle Junction out to the airport.

    It makes far more sense to keep the existing Toombul station for these new (affordable) unit dwellers: it’s much easier to get into the CBD via Toombul station since it’s a direct line.

  • The concept is very appealing and pleased to see the popular bike way unaffected…well lets hope so in reality. The seemingly insoluble problem with major developments is traffic who anyone who was stuck for hours at Chermside recently would agree. Therefore, fast reliable public transport and suitable parking for bicycles is essential.

  • A very considered urban development. Unimposing, restrained architecture incorporation large sun/weather-covered eaves/areas, greenery, solar capture, under cover parking with what I would say is an aeronautical streamline influence. Maintaining entertainment, retail and incorporating residential, commercial facilities is a good use of the space. A bridge connection to the train station is an excellent and cost-effective way to connect to existing public transport. I CAN’T WAIT to see the finished development.

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