Minister's Award for Urban Design
The Minister's Award for Urban Design recognises contemporary Queensland urban design projects of the highest quality. It encourages cities, towns and communities across Queensland to strive for best practice in all projects. The award highlights:
- the critical role of good urban design in shaping Queensland
- how collaborative relationships can lead to the successful development of the built environment.
Nominations for the 2021 Minister’s Awards for Urban Design will open in early 2021 and typically includes entries from the Australian Urban Design Awards held in the preceding year.
2020 Minister’s Award for Urban Design
In 2020, 20 nominations were received for the Minister’s Award for Urban Design. Ranging from city-wide thinking to fine-grain placemaking outcomes at a neighbourhood level, the nominations reflect a state-wide commitment to good design outcomes within the built environment.
This year the jury has recommended 2 Awards and 2 commendations for projects that:
- challenge the status quo
- demonstrate leadership and design excellence
- will leave lasting, sustainable legacies for the broader community, albeit at varying scales.
Cairns Performing Arts Precinct
Team: CA Architects, Cox Architecture and Andrew Prowse Landscape Architect with Cairns Regional Council
Image credit: Colin Huber
The Cairns Performing Arts Precinct offers a valuable, high quality contribution to the urban fabric of the city. An exceptionally well executed landscape and built form has resulted in an exciting new creative centre for Cairns, significantly enhancing the city’s vibrant local arts scene. Both the Cairns Performing Arts Centre and Munro Martin Parklands have a uniquely Far North Queensland feel that embraces the outdoors with textual landscape elements that respond to the local tropical setting.
The two projects cleverly work together to create a range of cultural event opportunities ranging in size and scale. Significantly, the road between both projects has the ability to be closed off for festivals and large performances. The seamless integration between theatre infrastructure within the parkland allows visitors to experience the open space all year round, even when performances are not scheduled, contributing to the civic life of the city. The beautifully executed gabion rock walls of the parkland stage delivers a clear sense of performance and authority to the overall placemaking qualities of the space.
The jury applauds Council’s vision to deliver such a high-quality precinct. It is envisaged that the rejuvenation of this historically significant open space and adjacent Cairns Performing Arts Centre will enhance the city centre’s liveability offer to support future growth and densification within the Cairns CBD.
Howard Smith Wharves
Team: HSW Nominees, Urbis and Woods Bagot
Image credit: HSW nominees
Image credit: HSW nominees
Brisbane is a city defined by its topography and winding serpentine river. Transformative projects such as Howard Smith Wharves are vital to re-imagining the river’s edge as critical public infrastructure for the development and growth of the city. Howard Smith Wharves has combined important historical, cultural and recreational activities with commercial activation to create a vibrant and highly popular lifestyle precinct. The dramatic ‘hero shot’ of the Story Bridge and CBD backdrop makes this location memorable and a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
The jury noted the project’s broader urban design city shaping moves, including the inclusion of lifts at each end of the site that transforms the city’s pedestrian links, bringing residents and patrons from surrounding New Farm and The Valley directly to and from the river’s edge and into the city. The project has built strong connections both physically and programmatically. The strong connections with the Brisbane River provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to take in the natural setting, while curated areas of open space allow for social gathering and play.
Projects such as this are hard fought and require vision and stamina from all parties. The jury applauds the commitment by the public private partnership in investing in quality urban design for the benefit of the city and community.
Howard Smith Wharves is an excellent exemplar for development along the river’s edge through the adaptive re-use of historic building and high-quality urban design outcomes to create a unique and enduring legacy for the city.
The Spit Master Plan
Location: Main Beach, Gold Coast
Team: Deicke Richards and John Gaskell Planning Consultants, with Aspect Studios and Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Gold Coast Waterways Authority and City of Gold Coast.
Image credit: Deicke Richards
Image Credit: Deicke Richards
The Spit Master Plan establishes a clear, shared vision for this highly contested iconic Gold Coast landscape. Resonating deep in the Gold Coast psyche, The Spit has been synonymous for passionate debate from the community and stakeholders for a number of decades in response to various development proposals. For the first time, the Spit Master Plan has delicately navigated a consensus position where tourism, recreation, environment and cultural heritage issues have been harmoniously balanced.
The jury recognises the Master Plan establishes a comprehensive framework for the long-term sustainable revitalisation of The Spit by recognising the past – including acknowledgement of Aboriginal connection to local waterways and the coastal environment, respecting contemporary development on The Spit while embedding key design principles to unlock The Spit’s future potential. In particular, the jury noted the intent for significant areas of open space or quality public realm to provide a ‘regenerative function’ or ‘area of respite’ that can reinvigorate both the physical and mental wellbeing of its visitors and residents.
The jury applauds the innovative engagement model that is likely to set a new benchmark in community engagement and co-design processes with multiple stakeholders. Led by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, supported by the City of Gold Coast, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority together with the design teams of Deicke Richards, John Gaskell Planning Consultants, with Aspect Studios, the jury commends The Spit Master Plan in leading by example, establishing a culture of collaboration and valuing design excellence.
With momentum now firmly established, the jury keenly awaits the evolution of The Spit Master Plan’s vision into a city making, legacy project for the Gold Coast.
900 Ann Street
Location: Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Team: John Wardle Architects, Lat 27 and Penfold Projects with Consolidated Properties and Anglican Church Archdiocese
Image Credit: Scott Burrows
Image credit: Scott Burrows
900 Ann Street is an exceptional demonstration of how a commercial venture can significantly benefit the community and surrounding urban fabric. The development of the 900 Ann Street tower has allowed for the revitalisation of this historic setting as a publicly accessible facility and garden precinct. The simple tower form acts as a buffer from the heavily trafficked Ann street while maintaining pedestrian connections and views to its historic neighbour.
The re-imagined ground plane has created an inner city retreat for the community, church and local work force. The Holy Trinity Church grounds which were previously inaccessible to the public have now been adaptively re-used for community and church events while their high articulated edges provide deep shade for contemplation and relaxation.
New interventions within the site respectfully mitigate between new and old while skillfully responding to the changing levels of the site. This project is an excellent reminder of the value of heritage places and their ability to provide beautiful and engaging places for the public. The jury congratulates the project group on their vision and perseverance in delivering such a high-quality urban design outcome for the city.
Other recognised projects
The jury also recognised the following projects for their vision and success:
In recognition of the increasing importance of ‘green and blue’ infrastructure:
- Oxley Creek Transformation – Archerfield Wetlands Precinct Plan – building on the Commendation awarded to the Oxley Creek Transformation Master Plan last year, this project seeks to transform 150 hectares of underutilised and degraded green space into major urban recreation and environmental asset for the City of Brisbane
- Logan River Accessibility & Connectivity Concept Plan – aims to unlock the Logan River’s contribution to the community, economy and ecology of the region by outlining a series of strategies and interventions to address current barriers to access and utilisation of the river.
In valuing the importance of good design in local communities:
- Palmwoods New Town Square – replacing ‘black with green’, the Palmwoods New Town Square transformed a car park into a vibrant green community space. Connecting existing retail precincts with the rail station, the new square provides a vibrant, active and shady public space that prioritises pedestrian and cycle movement while providing a central place for people to congregate and gather for festivals and community celebrations.
- Baringa Town Square – delivers significant public realm infrastructure for the emerging community to congregate and celebrate while promoting a lively, social and active lifestyle. With the first public realm on the Sunshine Coast to incorporate ‘skateable public infrastructure’, this inclusive social space provides an important respite space for this new community.
The jury encourages entrants to consider resubmitting unbuilt projects when they are substantially complete.
2019 Awards and Commendations
- Main Street, Barcaldine - m3architecture and Brian Hooper Architect (architects in association) with Barcaldine Regional Council
- Oxley Creek Transformation Master Plan - Lat27 and Oxley Creek Transformation Pty Ltd in association with DesignFlow, Hydrobiology, Jacobs and Deloitte
- Joint Projects: Gold Coast Building Height Study—an approach to city image together with Gold Coast Urban Ground Project - City of Gold Coast with Urbis and City of Gold Coast with Archipelago
2018 Awards and Commendations
- Fish Lane, South Brisbane- Aria Property Group with Brisbane City Council
- Parklands, Gold Coast- AAA (Arkhefield, ARM and Archipelago) and Lat27 with Grocon
- Big Plans for Small Creek: Small Creek Naturalisation Ipswich Landscapology and Bligh Tanner with Ipswich City Council
- St Lucia Campus Master Plan St Lucia, Brisbane Urbis with University of Queensland
- Rockhampton Riverside and CBD Redevelopment Rockhampton Urbis with Rockhampton City Council
2017 Awards and Commendations
- Beenleigh Town Square Project, Logan- Logan City Council, AECOM, MRCagney and Wilson Architects
- Brisbane Showgrounds – Public Realm Overlay, Brisbane- RNA and Lendlease with Lat27
- Kwong Sang Walk Laneway Creation, Toowoomba- Toowoomba Regional Council
- Gold Coast Landscape Character Study, Gold Coast - City of Gold Coast with Cardno, Catherine Brouwer and Michael Aird
- Last updated:
- 13 March 2020