cardno s.p.l.a.t. & arkhefield: 'river quay' south bank parklands brisbane
cardno s.p.l.a.t. & arkhefield: 'river quay' south bank parklands brisbane cardno s.p.l.a.t. & arkhefield: 'river quay' south bank parklands brisbane
apr 18, 2012

cardno s.p.l.a.t. & arkhefield: 'river quay' south bank parklands brisbane

‘river quay’ south bank parklands, brisbane photograph copyright john gollings

brisbane based landscape architectural practice, cardno s.p.l.a.t., have recently completed a significant new public open space, ‘river quay’, on the brisbane river within south bank parklands and the heart of the city of brisbane, queensland. ‘river quay’ creates a sense of address for a previously under-utilised southern end of the south bank parklands precinct, directly engaging with the river and improving connectivity back to the cbd of brisbane. as one of the last key publicly accessible riverfront sites left within the cbd, ‘river quay’ re-imagines the public realm and creates an iconic river edge destination for south bank and the city of brisbane.

south bank parklands is a unique urban precinct where the idyllic queensland lifestyle is seamlessly integrated with recreation, dining, boutiques and cultural experiences and is visited by more than nine million people each year.

cardno s.p.l.a.t. was commissioned by south bank corporation whose vision was for a world class river edge space and premier restaurant destination on the brisbane river within the heart of city which embodied an experience and expression unique to queensland. it was essential that the development contributes to a sense of address for the precinct, as well as engaging with the river by providing active edges, improved connectivity and direct access to the river’s edge.

a collaborative approach between cardno s.p.l.a.t., arkhefield architecture and the client south bank corporation for the overall urban design has allowed a complete and integrated realisation of the clients brief and concepts for the site. locating the majority of the privatised, commercial realm of the restaurants away from the river edge allows the community to own the river and public space whilst maintaining uncompromised views and active frontages for the restaurants.

the symbolism of the brisbane river and shorelines was explored to generate a unified landscape gesture. the tidal river bank is a place of shifting movements, flows and eddies. the significant movement paths for people and bicycles mirrors this concept peeling away from the river edge on its own journey flowing around the new lower ‘river quay’ green to meet or “kiss” the iconic south bank arbour. the new ‘river quay’ green is deprogrammed and offers a robust setting in which a variety of social and cultural activities occur for locals and tourists alike. the river is given back to the public and together with a variety of river edge typologies and newly created city views, forms the centrepiece and focus for this precinct, with the restaurants providing a relatively quiet backdrop.

the materials palette has been kept deliberately simple and bold to reinforce the clarity of the landscape and built forms. the simplicity of this palette is none-the-less sophisticated.

timber was salvaged and recycled from the previous expo 88’ boardwalk site and has been incorporated into a variety of elements throughout the project. the seating utilises the timber in a stacked fashion reminiscent of the timber stock piles that once sat on the industrial wharfs in this location. the recycled decking board has also been utilised in a large timber artwork motif within the plaza area that reflects the geological formations of the brisbane tuff stone in the neighbouring kangaroo point cliffs. local brisbane tuff stone has been used within pathways in a contemporary manner reflecting the local geomorphology. the artwork narrative built into the landscape terraces reflects the history of the site from its pre-industrial beginnings, through to the maritime and expo 88’ eras and interweaves the variety of uses the river has in the factual and symbolic life of the city and its people.

the buildings are conceived as an extension of the broader landscape gestures. a hierarchy and progression of abstracted vernacular roofs provide shelter and enclosure along the promenade, from a smaller scale, respectful and low key interface with the arbour, out toward a bolder, more sculptural built form at the river edge. a rich, layered edge with the promenade is created by bending and stepping the building footprint, providing a variety of outdoor dining areas and courtyard retreat spaces establishing the feeling of ‘perceptual nearness’ to the river from within the restaurants. ‘river quay’ successfully responds to south bank’s role as the city’s main tourist destination as well as delivering significant ‘green infrastructure’ for the changing demographics of brisbane. the project has been highly successful in balancing the needs of commercial retailers whilst giving back meaningful open space to the community. on sunny days the ‘river quay’ green is filled with locals and tourists alike enjoying the city views and the opportunity to play along the inter-tidal river edge. throngs of people can be seen sitting on the terraced banks, the ‘river lounge’ revetment seat as well as continuing along the promenade eager to complete the loop through the parklands and back into the city.

client: south bank corporation landscape architecture: cardno s.p.l.a.t. architecture: arkhefield photography: john gollings

the lower ‘river quay’ green engaging the river photograph copyright john gollings

terrace seating walls amongst a grove of eucalyptus photograph copyright john gollings

recycled timber seating forms reflect the flows and eddies of the river photograph copyright john gollings

artwork narrative built into the landscape terraces reflects the history of the site photograph copyright john gollings

the “kiss” of the arbour and the promenade photograph copyright john gollings

outdoor dining areas and courtyards establish the feeling of ‘perceptual nearness’ to the river photograph copyright john gollings

view of the river and the city of brisbane photograph copyright john gollings

a timber artwork motif reflects the geological formations of the brisbane tuff stone photograph copyright john gollings

stacked timber seating reminiscent of the timber stock piles that once sat on the industrial wharfs in this location photograph copyright john gollings

a bolder, more sculptural built form at the river edge photograph copyright john gollings

an informal plaza and vehicle setdown area photograph copyright john gollings

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions’  feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here


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