With Brisbane confirmed as the host of the Olympic Games for 2032, attention now turns to growth in the region that will coincide with the infrastructure being put in place for the games.
bureau^proberts Founder Liam Proberts believes that capitalising on the opportunity to use the games as a springboard for the future starts with creative ambition.
"The 2032 Olympics must be a supercharger for Brisbane and Southeast Queensland,” he says.
“The Olympics will bring legislation that opens doors for developments and initiatives that might not otherwise happen. It's a chance to fast-track ideas and deliver cultural, social and economic benefits for decades to come."
A member of the Committee for Brisbane’s Olympics and Paralympics Legacy Taskforce, Proberts is at the centre of ensuring the river city gives the best account of itself by the time the games roll around.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to hold up a mirror up to ourselves and reflect on who we are and what's important to us.”
Proberts is emphatic that design, art and architecture must be firmly embedded in visioning from day one.
"Our games must be distinctly Queensland, a celebration of our climate, natural environment and Indigenous and European heritage. If we look to other Olympic cities, we can see how they've used design to amplify their identity, internally and externally."
Barcelona’s iconic 1992 Olympic diving pool, which played host to views across the Catalonian city, Sagrada Familia and the region’s mountain ranges, has been cited by Proberts as direct inspiration for Brisbane’s future Olympic precinct. The view became etched in the collective memory of visitors and tv viewers from around the world. Thirty years on, the pool is a well-loved community asset still enjoyed by Barcelona's residents.
The legacy of the Games is central to the IOC's criteria when selecting a host city. Proberts is quick to point out though that legacy extends well beyond infrastructure.
"We've already made some great moves. The Howard Smith Wharves, Fish Lane and the South Brisbane area have broadened Brisbane's social and dining offering. More importantly, we've seen galleries and other start-up businesses co-locate in those areas. We need to ensure those organic, grassroots connections filter down."
Proberts is a big believer in how creative partnerships can build capacity, community and culture. A key component of design is shared experience.
"Architecture and art in the public realm create inquiry. Like a good book or movie, they distil thinking into an expression that feels right. That's what we do with buildings - create place and connection."
bureau^proberts’ design for the Australia Pavilion at Expo 2021 in Dubai is an example of this type of design. Playfully conveying meaning through form, the Pavilion utilises a cumulus cloud made from aluminium blades that serves as a metaphor for national and shared identity.
"We wanted to capture the Australian qualities of openness and invitation. Everyone is equal on the beach," says Liam.
"Cumulus clouds are seen everywhere in our country and are also visible in skies around the world." Beneath the Pavilion's cloud sits a central, open space for gathering, performance, dining and rest.
"With the Olympics, we have an unrivalled opportunity to support our creative sector and engage deeply with our own people and place," concludes Proberts, issuing a clear directive.
"As we plan the Brisbane Games, our creative practitioners must be sitting squarely at the table, not on the sidelines.”