Construction has begun on the Shane Thompson Architects-designed Large Animal Pavilion, which forms part of one of the largest Urban Renewal programs in Australia, the redevelopment of the historic Royal National Associations (RNA) showgrounds in Brisbane.

In addition to the restoration of existing building stock – such as several heritage buildings that sit on the site – the RNA Urban Renewal program will see the design and construction of new retail, commercial, multi-residential, carparking and other multi-purpose facilities. The Large Animal Pavilion is one such new build, and will be used to accommodate cattle and other large animals associated with Queensland’s annual agriculture show, Ekka.

As well as being able to hold up to 1,800 heads of cattle, the design for the Large Animal Pavilion will need to provide adequate facilities for other major exhibitions that take place at the site throughout the year. Additional carparking space is also required to meet the needs of both convention and exhibition attendees, and visitors to the nearby Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Shane Thompson says that the multi-model design for the Large Animal Pavilion is the result of extensive research, and is without international precedent.

“We developed a strong working relationship with the client and key stakeholders, undertook significant research, attended the annual show and observed and recorded the facility demands and complex logistics, including the peak periods of loading and unloading cattle to ensure a robust and flexible facility that could easily and readily adapt to both the known and unknown variations in the building’s operations.”

Overall, the RNA Urban Renewal program will transform 22 hectares of land, including 340,000sqm of new residential, commercial and retail buildings. It is the largest Brownfield development of its kind in Australia, and will cost an estimated $2.9 billion – a cost that has been primarily fronted by Lendlease, with a loan of $65 million from the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

The 15-year regeneration project commenced in April 2011, and hit several significant milestones – such a stage one completion of the Royal International Convention Centre – in 2013. Stage three of the project commenced in August last year, and is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

“The regeneration of the Brisbane Showgrounds has already begun to re-energise the annual Ekka and will see the site become a year-round destination for the community,” reads a statement on the RNA website. “The Brisbane Showgrounds will be the centrepiece of a new urban village project.”

The annual Royal Queensland Show, Ekka, will continue to run while construction works take place.