Gold Coast is a city determined by a significant civic space – the beach – which has singularly informed the culture and making of it as a place. The city’s beach culture is free spirited, physical, youthful, energetic, playful and social. It engages with outdoors, the estuaries, the hinterland, and the climate. Planned along the beach, the Gold Coast is linear by nature, characterized by edges and thresholds, permeable and porous to promote accessibility between its parts.
The Evandale Site is strategically positioned at the border between two opposing urban typologies – one vertical and linear (Surfers Paradise) the other one horizontal and dispersed (Bundall). In this unique context the precinct needs to embrace the challenge and paradox of centrality – to make an innovative cultural heart attracting the coast’s vital energy inland and inject it back into the community.
The proposal pays homage to the pattern of the city and is planned as a series of linear bands of built form, open space, cultural facilities, landscape and water edge, representative of the city. A key architectural device, the connector, is a public platform that punctuates the proposal, linking the entrance, cultural facilities, public spaces and waterfront. It acts as a catalyst of circulation and activity on the site. It enables identity, performance, gathering, utility, connection and protection.
The design plays with the ambiguities between indoor and outdoor, architecture and landscape. The New Arts Museum is organized in a diffused configuration to enhance the experience of viewing art by injecting discovery.
The Living Arts Centre rewraps the existing civic theater with a new skin to create new public and functional spaces, such as foyers, pre-function spaces and large public terraces with a view of the city’s skyline, oriented to optimize the benefits of shading and ocean breezes.
The ambition of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct has to exceed its site boundary and set a timeframe longer than the one expressed in the brief. The Commonwealth Games in 2018 are the first milestone of a longer term plan. The proposal intentionally avoids a single architectural gesture and adopts a specific master planning strategy that is flexible and adaptable to provide an approach that will grow in time, embracing the possibilities of the future.