Construction work has begun on the Kings Co-op redevelopment as part of the $2.9-billion regeneration project for Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds.

Designed by Australasian design firm The Buchan Group as a mixed and adaptive re-use development, Kings Co-op forms a significant part of the history of the Brisbane Exhibition, known locally as the ‘Ekka’, and includes the Royal Snack Bar, Sugar Pavilion and the Dairy Hall Pavilion. This agricultural and industrial exhibition space was constructed progressively during the past century.

Located at the northern end of King Street in Fortitude Valley, the Kings Co-op redevelopment will showcase prime retail, food and beverage offerings, and provide seasonal function spaces and a multi-deck carpark.

Buchan worked with Brisbane RNA Showgrounds’ Joint Venture Partner Lend Lease to create a design that links the cultural heritage and urban future aspirations of the Brisbane Showgrounds Master Plan. The redevelopment is part of the 15-year, three-stage regeneration project for the RNA Showgrounds, currently in its sixth year.

The Buchan Group Associate Paul Watson explained that the design represented an eclectic mix of modern concepts with traditional showground architectural features.

The Kings Co-op project will offer a new hub for community engagement and entertainment with Buchan’s design embracing pavilion architecture that embodies the agricultural materials associated with the past, but placed in an urban contemporary composition. According to Watson, Kings Co-op will be the focal lifestyle precinct that book ends King Street, where the majority of the street-level retail will be focussed on quality food and beverage that enhances the area with a lively vibe.

He added that the transformed space will incorporate rescued materials from key warehouse and pavilion structures within the showgrounds precinct, and will breathe new life into some of the most-loved structures and meeting places already on-site at the RNA.

Buchan has also designed a carpark screen system that’s not only simple and cost-effective, but would also allow for the use of pixels to be arranged to create urban facade art.

Construction of Kings Co-op is expected to be completed in July 2017.