South Bank Cultural Centre: Development Progress Vs Preserving Icon?


The family of the architect who designed Brisbane's South Bank Cultural Centre, Robin Gibson is rallying to have the buildings heritage listed to protect them from high-rises and hotels.

The new state government's draft master plan was released on April 2nd of this year, a month after Robin Gibson’s death.

The proposed design will allow the addition of two 30-storey towers to be built above the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and over the Queensland museum expansion and alterations made to the facade of the existing buildings.

The application has been lodged by the Australian Institute of Architects for heritage listing for the buildings, as well the precinct's Queensland Art Gallery.

Gibson’s daughter and architect, Tina Gibson, has made an appeal to gather the public's support.

"[pullquote]The Queensland Cultural Centre is under threat from a new Government Master Plan that proposes a myriad of commercially-driven alterations and additions that will irrevocably alter the buildings both internally and externally[/pullquote]," Tina Gibson said in a statement.

Robin Gison's wife, Jane Gibson has also spoken out about the proposed development saying in an interview conducted by the ABC that, "part of the ideology of the buildings was to have a low-rise set with the mountain ranges behind - well, that will be completely obliterated".

Designed in the 70s and built in the 80s in the late modernist style, Mr Gibson's South Bank buildings drew Brisbane's eye towards the river, helped shape the facade of the capital and established the state's cultural precinct.

His art gallery design won the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Architecture in 1982 and the landmarks are seen to represent Brisbane's re-birth following World Expo 88.

There have been no buildings designed since 1968, added to the Queensland Heritage Register.

Arts Minister, Ian Walker told the Brisbane Times, "the government would support a heritage listing that acknowledged the importance of this place to the cultural life of Queensland and the need to preserve its active role in the future".

The heritage listing decision is due to conclude in mid-2015.

"The state government will not wait until the Conservation Management Plan is finalised, before pushing ahead with development at the cultural precinct," added Minister Walker.

Richard Kirk, President of the Queensland arm of the AIA, told the Brisbane Times that he is disappointed with the proposed towers.

"They are undesirable from a conservation point of view, they are undesirable from an urban point of view and they are clearly unworkable from a financial point of view. We think they are unfortunately inappropriate on any level."‘The institute believes the low-rise nature of Mr Gibson's public realm for the premier culture precinct should remain low-rise.

"You typically don't build over large span structures like a performance space or a museum, particularly with a tower. It would render those tower sites the most expensive tower sites in the city."Submissions are being considered by the DEHP when making their assessment and by the Queensland Heritage Council when making its decision. Submissions close on Friday 19th September.

A petition has been posted on the Brisbane Heritage and the Gibson family have also started a facebook page to help build support for the campaign.

Show Comments
advertise with us
The Urban Developer is Australia’s largest, most engaged and fastest growing community of property developers and urban development professionals. Connect your business with business and reach out to our partnerships team today.
Article originally posted at: