Community connectivity and design are important considerations for award-winning Australian architectural practice Hames Sharley in their vision for the $750 million Albion Exchange transit-oriented development (TOD) in Brisbane.

Hames Sharley principal Jason Preston is spearheading the interdisciplinary design firm’s work on stage one of Geon Property’s 10-stage 4-hectare masterplan (in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, and Queensland Rail).

Stage 1 of the Albion Exchange project comprises of two residential towers featuring 309 apartments, a podium-level retail and commercial hub located above the existing Albion train station, and high-quality pedestrian and cyclist-friendly public spaces. 

From a design perspective, the initial stage is also a defining opportunity to connect the suburb both from east to west and from its history to its future, says Preston.

“Hames Sharley’s design ethos is always to enable communities to flourish, and we hope our focus on architectural excellence and community connectivity for Albion Exchange will set the tone for new development across the city fringe suburb.”

According to Queensland Government data, Albion’s population is expected to more than double from 2,973 residents in 2016 to 6,543 residents in 2041.

“We genuinely consider Albion Exchange to be at the intersection of today and tomorrow and so our design has sought to honour the suburb’s strong community and rich history while also catering for the residential and infrastructure needs of its future population,” Preston said.

Albion Exchange is set to be developed over 15 years, with the train station to remain fully operational throughout. Observing that the train station was part of the fabric of the community, Preston explained that the station needed to remain operational throughout development, and the design had to acknowledge this fact.

“The design includes a combination of stairs and lifts and will look and feel like a series of green terraces. The terraces will allow people to pause and take in the views – particularly in and around the public open space - and allow them to meander and take their own path.”

Hames Sharley has also conducted extensive research into mitigating the train noise for the residential and commercial sites through careful positioning of buildings and public open space. The open space, which will be the centrepiece of the development, will be framed by retail space, and serve as a meeting place for the community.