Surfers Paradise Project To Have World's Most Slim Fitting Architectural Design


Golden Gate Property has unveiled the architectural design for a $200 million, cutting edge residential tower on a prime absolute beachfront site in Surfers Paradise.

The building’s slender design and distinct exoskeleton facade is the result of the latest advances in parametric design tools, wind engineering and modelling technology. It is one of the first times it has been applied to a residential building anywhere in the world.

The development application was lodged with City of Gold Coast.

The 2-4 Wharf Road project elevates prestige apartment living, offering 35 one-per-floor luxury sky residences, a two-storey sub-penthouse, three-storey penthouse, 450m2 stand-alone beach house, and a residents-only wellness facility and spa.


Golden Gate Property approached Rothelowman to deliver a dynamic design that embraced the beachfront experience and quintessential Gold Coast lifestyle.

Golden Gate Property Director of Development David Whiteman said Wharf Road was a premium statement piece not only for the Gold Coast skyline but for Australia as a whole, which caters to a gap in the ultra-premium apartment market.

“We are delivering an internationally recognised project for the Gold Coast which, through delivering a combination of iconic design, an ultimate beachfront location and ultra high-end facilities, unquestionably defines the new meaning of exclusive beachfront living,” he said.

“We didn’t want it to look like a tower of glass, we wanted the design to really celebrate living on the beach and appreciate Rothelowman’s subtropical approach of designing each sky residence to open up like a traditional old Queenslander.”


The Wharf Road's architectural design
Rothelowman Associate Principal Jonothan Cowle said the design and engineering process was intensive.

Using the latest advances in parametric design tools, wind engineering and modelling technology, the project was designed to rise 44 storeys, 154m high by 12m wide, giving Wharf Road one of the tightest slenderness ratios in the world.

At 1:13 it is on par with Phoenix in Melbourne and more slender than One Madison in New York (1:12) while still delivering premium one-per-floor apartments ranging from 346-414m2.

Rothelowman said they worked to revolutionise their architectural approach to designing the high-rise residential tower to balance the beauty of an absolute beachfront location with unique site proportions and prevailing winds.

“We started with the idea of a beach house in the sky - a place with a veranda, offering protection from the summer sun, a place to linger, a garden, a place where one can enjoy the weather, the love of the environment, a place to revel in the playfulness of the coast,” Mr Cowle said.


“The challenge was to create the experience with a pencil thin tower. Conventionally, this tower could never achieve the heights, passive environmental performance or material optimisation that we are attempting. Our response was to craft a tower from the wind.”

The structural elements of the architectural design respond to the exposed beachfront conditions of the site, which experiences low-turbulence wind flow off the ocean. The exoskeleton increases tower width by 2 metres and adds torsional stiffness while maintaining expansive ocean views. The tapered base reduces the building’s bulk and scale while also improving views for neighbouring sites.

“The structural system has the added benefit of creating a deep façade which assists in the creation of microclimates and allows us to finely tune each apartment for passive solar shading, the creation of garden beds and the possibility of natural ventilation,” Mr Cowle said.

“Differing floor plates throughout the tower combined with open balconies at each end disturbs wind flow around the building, reducing the impacts of wind for residents and pedestrians below.

“A wrap-around veranda along the northern edge provides expansive access to natural light across the full extent of the residence and realises the concept of the elevated beach house. The veranda also provides protection from the elements while being a versatile, social outdoor space.”


The architectural design of the tower is an adapted diagrid exoskeleton, able to deal with the dynamic wind and structure loads while being suited to complex formal outcomes.

“Tethered to the earth and resisting forces, this is one of the few residential towers that derive its aesthetic from its structural expression," Mr Cowle said.

“This slender residential tower is a wonderful example of collaborative and creative innovation, the fusion of architecture and wind engineering to create a design that is uniquely crafted to its context.

“We wanted the tower to touch the ground so lightly it would seem to be dancing upon the sands. A tower so exactly tailored to its environment, that is couldn’t exist in any other place, but the coast of beautiful Surfers Paradise.”
Fast facts - 2-4 Wharf Road, Surfers Paradise

  • Tower height - 154 metres
  • 44 storeys
  • Tower slenderness ratio 1:13
  • 35 sky homes, one per floor
  • Gross floor area - 346m2-414m2
  • Two-storey sub-penthouse
  • Gross floor area - 801m2
  • Three-storey penthouse
  • Gross floor area - 1234m2
  • Three-level detached beach house
  • Gross floor area - 430m2


  • Visitor car parking
  • Gymnasium
  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • Function space
  • Exclusive-use lounge
  • Resort-style pool
  • Lap pool
  • Plunge pool
  • Deck and barbecue facilities
  • 4-level basement with 117 residential car spaces
  • Ground floor retail tenancy
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