Royal Treatment: Queens Wharf Urban Design Masterplan Unveiled

Australia’s ‘Biggest Urban Playground’ has been unveiled in the Urban Design Masterplan for Queens Wharf Brisbane (QWB).

The renewal of the QWB offers a distinct opportunity to shape the future vibrancy and success of almost 20 per cent of Brisbane’s city centre and to deliver an integrated mixed-use development on a scale rarely seen in Australia, with an expected 40,000 visitors at maximum occupancy and boosting the CBD’s event capacity to up to 150,000 people.

Queens Wharf hotels will be able to accommodate 2400 people, apartments will accommodate 3,600, while employees will reach a maximum of 10,118.

Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC) submitted the report as part of the Plan of Development (PoD) application. The consortium views the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Integrated Resort Development (QWBIRD) as a significant city-making opportunity for Brisbane and the State of Queensland.

Space Networks

Development of the public realm comprises several open space networks, including:

  • The Boulevard: a unifying treatment along George Street;
  • The Ribbon: a wayfinding device connecting a new public space system located between George and William Streets;
  • The Verandah: an informal streetscape setting along William Street;
  • The Undercurrent: a diversity of contemporary spaces with a strong relationship to the river;

  • Cross block links: a series of lateral spaces through the QWBIRD that connect George Street to the river’s edge;
  • River View terrace: a vertical layer of elevated and vertical gardens within the core development;
  • Heritage parks: the retention of Queen’s Gardens and Miller Park;
  • Primary and secondary plazas: open public plaza that provide vibrant civic spaces:
  • Key public spaces within the Printery Courtyard, adjacent to the former DPI Building and at the interface of Queens Wharf Road and Queen Street: public space with informal and shaded seating opportunities;
  • Key open recreation space: a key space extending into the river for informal active recreation; and
  • Porte-cochere: a multi-functional access space that provides vehicular access, drop off/valet areas and pedestrian connections.

Public Realm

At the heart of the PoD is the intention to create a new activated mixed-use community and urban precinct.

The public realm of the QWBIRD will be designed to be a rich and vibrant people-friendly environment, capturing Brisbane’s unique character by encouraging active and ‘alfresco’ lifestyle. The public realm and landscape vision established by the PoD and the Landscape Concept Report for QWB is centred around seven key organising ideas:

The Streetscapes

Streetscapes that respond to their role and function within the city grid and take advantage of the unique micro climate, public/private use and architectural interfaces;

The Ridgeline

The Ridgeline is a new public space system located between George and William Streets and comprises a heritage story of Brisbane and encompasses an entirely new way of moving through the city.

The adaptive re-use of buildings and the creation of a series of laneways, courtyards and active urban spaces between these buildings will create a new public realm that will link the Queen Street Mall to the Botanic Gardens.

The William Street Verandah

This represents an informal subtropical streetscape setting along William Street; defining elements of the William Street Verandah are that it has a roof and that it provides an elevated viewing position, featuring a mix of old and new facades.

The Undercurrent

Represents diverse contemporary spaces with a strong relationship to the river and its inherent character; The Undercurrent encompasses that space at the river’s edge and will transform this ‘forgotten’ riverfront area.

Cross Block Links

The Cross Block Links are the threads that connect the river with the city. They connect George Street to William Street, William Street to the river and traverse and connect zones such as Reddacliff Place to Queens Wharf Road, Queen’s Gardens to Miller Park, Stephens Lane, Printery Courtyard, and the Brisbane Steps from George Street to Queens Wharf Plaza. These links are internal to the city blocks and do not include street verges.

The Bridge

A new and striking bridge that is lightweight and allows long views to and from the city and South Bank are preserved; and

The Sky Gardens

Contains a vertical layering of elevated gardens within the core development – they are  elevated public landscapes that are an integral part of the public realm. The Sky Gardens include:

  • The River View Terrace: a key urban space in the proposed link between the city and South Bank precincts, providing an important node between the proposed public pedestrian bridge, the city waterfront and George Street;
  • Recreational Deck: a diverse series of meandering water bodies and exciting leisure spaces.

Riverside Activation

The precinct represents around 30 per cent of the city’s central business district river frontage, but is currently locked away by infrastructure corridors and suffers from well-documented poor connectivity.

The master plan responds to this by:

  • Reconsidering the river in order to transform it from being an ‘edge’ to being at the centre of the city’s experience;
  • Delivering on the intent of the recently released River’s Edge Strategy by improving connectivity and bringing life and festival to the river corridor, making the river the centerpiece

  • Celebrating the birthplace of Brisbane through place making along the banks of QWB; and
  • Unlocking the opportunity for more river life in the form of transport, boating and recreation and by allowing people to physically engage with the water. 

Sub-Precincts

The Landing

Sub-Precinct intended to provide the largest new foreshore component of the public realm, providing opportunities for active and passive recreation spaces. Uses other than park are limited to pop-up retail, temporary activation and market stalls with the area primarily aimed at catering for gathering spaces and active and passive leisure pursuits

Bicentennial Bikeway

Which runs from QUT and then to a shared pedestrian/cycle connective route from the North Quay jetty towards Coronation Drive.

The Ribbon

This is a wayfinding ‘spine’ device linking Alice Street (Botanical Gardens) through the city to Queen Street Mall.

A key intent of this Sub-Precinct is to strengthen the function of the Brisbane River corridor and improve public access to the riverfront through the utilisation of reclamation areas and/or jetties to extend into the Brisbane River. As such, the PoD establishes parameters to facilitate river reclamation of a maximum width of 55 metres from the existing river edge along the length of the Sub-Precinct.

Traffic Infrastructure Changes

Road infrastructure required:

  • Removing the left turn slip lane from Margaret Street to William Street;
  • Provide an additional 41m long lane on the Southbound ramp approach to William Street at Margaret Street providing for left turns to William Street and through movements directly to the IRD access;

External inspiration

New Transport?

A traffic engineering report for the Queen’s Wharf project, conducted by consulting firm TTM, recommends authorities look at whether the free City Loop buses could run on Saturdays and Sundays, and also Friday and Saturday nights, to improve accessibility to public transport hubs. Cyclist and Pedestrian Connectivity

On-street connections through city centre streets Alice and Margaret Streets will become key connections in the city centre street network with the delivery of the proposed Kangaroo Point Bridge at the end of Alice and Edward Streets. It is proposed that cycles will operate within the existing one-way street network following the direction of traffic.

Unlocking The Value Of Alice Street

Alice Street accommodation focused around amenity overlooking the City Botanic Gardens, is emerging as a key focus for an increasing residential and short-term accommodation offer in the city centre

The urban block bounded by George, William, Alice and Margaret Streets will form a residentially led mixed-use sub-precinct. This unlocks the value of its proximity to the Botanic Gardens and provides a transition in uses between Parliament House, 1 William Street and the balance of the core development area.

 

The master plan proposes to provide seamless connections, tying in with proposals for 1 William Street as follows: »

  • From the riverside pathway network into Margaret Street, and
  • Out of Alice Street onto the riverside pathway network. A new cafe named ‘Velo’ café will feature near the end of trip facilities.

‘Iconic’ Journeys 

Through a combination of planting, material and lighting palettes, a series of three iconic journeys through the length of the site will be delivered to assist with navigation.

The ‘Ribbon’, ‘Mangrove Walk’ and ‘The Brisbane Steps’.

The Undercurrent Village

The Undercurrent Village has been designed as a series of connected, high performance, ‘rooms’ that enable all manner of events and activations to occur, day and night, within the context of Brisbane’s birthplace.

  • Sound Garden performance stage area with interactive urban sculpture,
  • Water feature, seating and viewing terraces

  • ”Wake Bar” heritage Morgue site providing alternative access between Queen’s Wharf Road and the riverfront
  • Velo café providing end of ride facilities, incorporating café, toilet/shower facilities and bike storage
  •  Flood proof pop-up zones
  • Bicentennial bikeway upgrade from Victoria Bridge.

Tackling Crime: CCTV and Safety 

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) did acknowledge that the anticipated influx of people to the completed QWB development (in the order of 1.4million annually) may lead to increases in crime levels in the area, specifically mentioning alcohol fuelled violence, and theft.

 Events 

 

• A major new river’s edge public space;

• Brisbane’s first elevated river plaza and permanent outdoor cinema.

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