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    Arm Architecture make a ‘splash’ with new $305 million Gold Coast Cultural Precinct

    Nathan Johnson

    City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has revealed the new “finely tuned masterplan” for the Evandale precinct and says the new design by ARM Architecture responds to community feedback.

    Speaking from the Council’s YouTube channel, Tate also says that the $35 million Stage One development of the $305 million Gold Coast Cultural Precinct will commence in 2015 in a bid to ready the entire complex for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

    “Last year the winning architectural design team worked with expert consultants and stakeholders and responded to community feedback,” said Tate.

    “The result is a finely tuned masterplan for Evandale; a blue print for a cultural destination for residents and visitors that can be developed as the city can afford it.”

    The new plan retains much of the original concept design from ARM, which won a 2012 design competition despite strong opposition from 75 firms, including Sir Peter Cook’s CRAB studio.

    The design introduces a geometric web of art-focussed amenity to the 11ha precinct that will surround Evandale Lake and sit in close proximity to the city centre.  

    The Arts Museum (tower), Living Arts Centre, Art Hotel and outdoors “artscape” have all been retained in the new masterplan, as has space for cafes and other retail.

    However, a major part of the design, a 10,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre, has been scrapped and will be replaced by an outdoor space known as “The Splash”, which will have a smaller but enclosed stage.

    The Living Arts Centre and its surrounds will still be the key feature of the project and comprises a 1,200-seat theatre and a versatile 350-seat black box theatre.

    In true Gold Coast style, the 14-storey Arts Museum tower will also include bungee jumping facilities.

    ARM Architecture commented on the design, saying it was intended to be emergent and transcendent of the usual means of design intent.

    “Our approach was to find a methodology which could as if transcend the usual means of design intent, something which no longer appeared imposed or strangely static, but could be instead emergent, something almost self-generating, something which is animated, and richly interpretative, and yet also changing and changeable over time,” reads their design statement.

    “We didn’t want to see art activities separate from other activities, we wanted to see them all as a part of human culture,” said ARM Director Howards Raggatt at an exhibition of the designs.   

    Stage One Development will be funded by the sale of council land and includes:

    • A versatile outdoor space, known as “The Splash”.
    • A riverside hub which will include a transitional art ­gallery and civic space.
    • Artwork across the precinct.

    Images: Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.

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