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Urban design

City of Gold Coast is committed to combining quality urban design with measures to protect and enhance our magnificent natural environment.

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2009 Urban Design winners

Gold Coast Urban Design Awards 2009

The Urban Design Awards are presented to recognise outstanding design, liveability and sustainability within the City.

For further information on past winners please click on the headings below.

Sue Robbins Award for Urban Design Excellence

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development
Submitted by: Bond University

Photo of School of Sustainable Development

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development building is the first in Australia to achieve a Six Star Green Star Education Pilot Certified Rating for Design, awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia. The building embraces world's best practice in sustainable design, and includes an interactive 'Living Laboratory' for engagement with the broader community regarding sustainable development.

Jury comment:

The Sue Robbins Award was introduced in 2005, again after the untimely death of Council's former Chair of City Planning South and urban design advocate, Sue Robbins. Previously known as the Gold Award, this award recognises the highest standards of urban design among all projects.

After careful consideration, the judges' decision is that the project worthy of recognition is one which displays both innovation and excellence - a project that considers its daily users and its wider context and role, and one which delivers a vital message for the future.

'Innovative exemplar, on a large scale'

Helen Josephson Award for Innovation in Urban Design

Helen Josephson Award co-winner

The Highlands and the Old Dairy, The Ecovillage
Submitted by: Landmatters and degenhartSHEDD Architects

Photo of The Highlands & The Old Dairy – The Ecovillage

The Highlands at Currumbin is an innovative, highly sustainable residential development located in the vibrant city of the Gold Coast. This $18 million project, which showcases world's best practice design in ecologically sustainable development, follows 12 years of global research and collaborative effort with industry, community and Government.

Jury Chairperson's comment:

The Helen Josephson Trophy for Innovation in Urban Design acknowledges innovation in urban design - a project or place that becomes an exemplar for others - something that lifts urban design in this city and sets an example for the future. I class this award as one of the most prestigious available.

And so I have taken the liberty afforded to me as Chief Judge to award this project the very real, and very prestigious honour of the Helen Josephson Trophy.

So... to the project which I believe embodies all the principles, we as a jury agreed were the most important - community, sustainability, responsibility, exemplar design - by displaying a superb use of art, design, community engagement, ecology, connectivity, adaptability and safety.

To the project which showcases world's best practice. To the project which is a benchmark for the future.

'Art, design, community engagement,
ecology, connectivity, adaptability, safety...
...a benchmark for the future'


Helen Josephson Award co-winner

Kirra Hill School site

Jury Chairperson's comment:

The second project to be honoured this year acknowledges the importance of cooperation.

The past, they say, is prologue.

That certainly is the case for this recipient.

  • The recipient is a built project which embraces our heritage.
  • It is a project which responds to community need.
  • A project that celebrates our youth, our culture and our magnificent environment.
  • One which acknowledges the value of community
  • and one which advocates for cooperation.

It tells a story that begins back in 1920 with the construction of a modest schoolhouse. It was a school which brought a community together and helped create a sense of identity for an evolving town.

Over the next 50 years, this school grew. The children of holiday-makers and even some from country properties swelled numbers at certain times of the year. More classrooms were added. By the 1950s, it was obvious that new school grounds would be needed to accommodate growth, and in 1977, all 270 students and staff moved.

But what to do with the existing site? In 1978, it became home to a Special and Further Education Centre, providing teaching for children with special needs. Again, modifications continued, but the Special School also outgrew its location and new facilities were needed. In mid-2006, the children and teachers moved to their new, purpose-built school.

Once again the future of the school site was questioned. Community concern escalated. They feared the site would be sold for development, its association with the community severed and its heritage values lost.

An action group was formed, urging the Government to protect the site.

Then Education Minister, Anna Bligh, told one local newspaper that in her four years as a minister, the future of this site had generated more public feeling than any other local issue.

In February 2005, the Queensland Government announced the land would be gifted to the community, in the care of Gold Coast City Council.

Council undertook a comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, detailing the history, and a detailed consultation program to decide how the site would be used... and very soon it will once again be available for community use.

From this story with simple beginnings, we have:

  • two more modern, purpose-built schools... including one which has addressed a great need for special needs students
  • an empowered community
  • an important public meeting place, and
  • the retention of one of this city's most valued heritage sites

The winners are the Save the Kirra Hill Committee, the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast City Council... and the people of the Gold Coast.

'A community asset...
heritage respected, future protected'


Helen Josephson Award co-winner

Pump Station SP68

Jury Chairperson's comment:

This is a major infrastructure project, but to the casual observer, it might not appear so, and that is the very point. This is infrastructure as urban design.

This project is part of a larger works program that has engaged more than 1200 people, from engineers and contractors, to construction specialists and administration staff, and it will support the city's growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The project being acknowledged tonight is the latest... and the largest... component of this program. It is as large as a mid-sized high-rise building and contains 1400 tonnes of concrete.

But, in a willingness to consult, the joint public-private alliance delivering this project has produced a visible asset. In fact, anyone passing this facility could be forgiven for confusing it with a museum, gallery or another modern civic space.

They are seeing but a portion of the whole as most of the works are below ground – 25 metres below ground – and the two visible storeys are of contemporary design, with screening and a collage of modern materials, including copper cladding.

It is part of the City's $221 million wastewater network improvement program.

This project is being delivered by the Beenleigh Merrimac Pimpama (BMP) Alliance, a partnership involving Gold Coast City Council, Tenix Alliance and GHD.

'Infrastructure as urban design'

People's Choice Award

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development

Photo of School of Sustainable Development

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development building is the first in Australia to achieve a Six Star Green Star Education Pilot Certified Rating for Design, awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia. The building embraces world's best practice in sustainable design, and includes an interactive 'Living Laboratory' for engagement with the broader community regarding sustainable development.

This award is chosen by the Gold Coast community, through popular vote. 1100 votes were cast in person and via the internet. The winning entry attracted more than a third of the popular vote (36 per cent, or 400 votes).

Other awards

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development
Submitted by: Bond University

Photo of School of Sustainable Development

Bond University's Mirvac School of Sustainable Development building is the first in Australia to achieve a Six Star Green Star Education Pilot Certified Rating for Design, awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia. The building embraces world's best practice in sustainable design, and includes an interactive 'Living Laboratory' for engagement with the broader community regarding sustainable development.

Jury comment:

This award is described by the judging panel as an innovative and exemplar project on a large scale. They believe it sends an essential message about the importance of sustainability.

'Innovative, exemplar, on a large scale'


Broadbeach Library
Submitted by: Fulton Trotter Architects

Photo of Broadbeach Library

The precinct provides for a range of uses including the library, meeting rooms, Councillors' offices, customer service area and café, all with competing interests that have been successful separated and accommodated.

Jury comment:

Tonight's second award acknowledges an excellent re-use and enhancement project. The panel felt this community facility portrayed a range of exemplary features, including the incorporation of good light and human scale.

'Reused, enhanced, exemplary'

High Commendations

34 Nerang Street
Submitted by: Morris International

Photo of 34 Nerang Street

The 34 Nerang Street development provides a 'landmark building' that makes a bold architectural statement and at the same time is sympathetic to the location and history of the site. The form of the building is reflective of Nerang's pioneering history. The curved blade walls are a reference to sugar cane stalks and the piled timber elements have been designed to reflect a wharf-style structure.

Jury comment:

This acknowledges a landmark building, which creates an oasis in a busy place. The panel has applauded this project as 'artwork in property development', in a very public and prominent position. It respects and enhances its riparian setting and displays a good use of texture, colour, angles and curves.

'Artwork in property development'


High Commendation

The Tugun Bypass
Submitted by: Hassall

Photo of Tugun Bypass

This major infrastructure project passes through some of Queensland's most significant flora and fauna habitats and includes seven kilometres of new road and a tunnel to connect Queensland and New South Wales with an efficient, state-of-the-art motorway.

Jury comment:

The second High Commendation expresses a design which is not just about function, but incorporates local indigenous forms. It acknowledges good urban design 'built in' to the heart of a major, infrastructure project.

'Urban design built in to infrastructure'

Other Commendations

SOHOs
Submitted by: Delfin Lend Lease

Photo of Soho's

The Delfin SOHOs offer buyers the unique opportunity to live in comfort and work in style – combining a chic living solution within a stone's throw of nearby cafes, restaurants, boutique stores and convenience shops, with all the benefits of fronting a commercial address.

Jury comment:

The first commendation demonstrates an exceptional response to a growing need in today's changing society. It represents an excellent mixed land-use, living style and typology.

'Exceptional response to a growing need'


Varsity Vegies Community Garden
Submitted by: Gold Coast City Council, Parks and Recreation Services

Photo of Varsity Vegies Community Gardens

This project represents a collaboration of efforts to create a community hub to facilitate social integration, education and sustainable principles. It is envisaged the project will become part of the growing desire for local food production and a catalyst for the resurgence of community gardens on the Gold Coast.

Jury comment:

The second commendation acknowledges an outstanding example of community collaboration and empowerment. It is a project with a low economic investment and a high impact on community values and one which answers a future need of food productivity in the urban environment.

'Outstanding example of collaboration'

Special Mentions

64 Thomas Drive
Submitted by: Inarc Design Qld

Photo of 64 Thomas Drive

64 Thomas Drive is a contemporary refurbishment of a dilapidated commercial building. By its distinct form, streamlined awning, articulated screening and discreet signage, this small development sets a new standard for commercial buildings on Chevron Island.

Jury comment:

This special mention goes to a project which they describe as a successful example of reuse and recycling, and featuring well-considered finer detail. This contemporary expression and intervention respects the spirit of its location.

'Contemporary expression and intervention... capturing the spirit of Chevron'


City Pacific and Residential
Submitted by: BDA Architecture

Photo of City Pacific Office & Residential

The proposed mixed-use development comprises four principle building elements located around the edges of the site. Two three-storied office buildings are sited to the north and east facing TE Peters Drive and Little Tallebudgera Creek. The two villas are positioned on the waters edge between office building A and the existing houses to the south. A linear two-storied apartment building, which is stepped in, forms an edged plan to the development along the western boundary to Miami Key.

Jury comment:

Our second special mention displays excellent adaptive re-use. It is a mixed-use development of high quality execution and workmanship, which considers its users and its residential context. Also acknowledged are the retention of mature vegetation, good use of the site and the activation of the adjacent water's edge.

'Considerate. High quality execution.'


Redleaf School of Early Learning
Submitted by: Hamilton Hayes Henderson Architects

Photo of Redleaf School of Early Learning

The Redleaf School of Early Learning, through the use of appropriate scale, active and visual connections with public spaces, a clear teaching philosophy and environmental approach to both design and learning, reflects a highly responsive urban development.

Jury comment:

The next special mention is awarded to what the panel found to be an innovative, well thought-out and well-implemented project, inspired by the passion, pride and enthusiasm of its management.

'Inspired by passion, pride and enthusiasm'


Cape Martin Place, The Gallery Collection
Submitted by: Design Forum Architects

Photo of The Gallery Collection

The "Gallery" concept is a collection of often unique, attached or semi-detached homes on a dwelling-size lot in a manner which both echoes the characteristics of the surrounding homes, while also reinforcing the urban fabric of the neighbourhood through increased variety, scale, surveillance and activity.

Jury comment:

It recognises a project described by the judging panel as an excellent use of land to influence future building form in the region. The panel has chosen to acknowledge one particular component of this entry - one which displays good articulation to its site and stands out among this group.

'Influencing future building form'

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