Queensland’s Art Minister Ian Walker has announced internationally renowned museum planner Barry Lord is in Brisbane working to create a 20-year vision for the South Bank Cultural Precinct.

Lord has more than 40 years of experience in the management and planning of museums, galleries and historic sites.

He is currently the president of Lord Cultural Resources, the largest cultural planning firm around the world, and has worked with global icons such as the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Tate Museum in London and Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

Barry Lord

Barry Lord

“I am delighted to have Mr. Lord as part of the team working on a master plan that will map a 20 year vision for the Cultural Precinct,” Walker said. “Planning for the future of this piece of public infrastructure is vital in the face of Brisbane’s rapid population growth and the changing inner-city landscape. The master planning process will also let us position the Cultural Precinct as a world-class arts hub recognised nationally as a cultural tourism icon.”

The state’s landmark Cultural Precinct comprises the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and the State Library of Queensland, attracting more than 4.9 million visitors last year. The precinct is not only nationally renowned for its exhibitions, events and public programming but also for its award-winning architecture.

Lord will spend a week working with a team of architects, urban planners and designers led by Urbis and Cox Rayner Architects to deliver the Cultural Precinct Master Plan in partnership with the Newman Government.

“Today’s museum, library, gallery and theatre patrons expect a high level of community engagement and real opportunities for participation, both virtually and physically, from their cultural institutions,” Lord explained, adding that one of the priorities should be including a new building designed just for kids. “All the institutions here are already doing great work with children but when you have a dedicated facility that says – we’re here just for children – that makes a difference.”

“That might in turn attract parents who don’t already go to museums and galleries and think they are for somebody else. US and Canadian cities already have such places and they are developing in Asia too. The Samsung Children’s Museum in Seoul, Korea is a good example.”

Queensland Art Gallery

Queensland Art Gallery

Lord suggested it is vital to build a dedicated children’s venue, such a museum or art gallery, to bring more families to the precinct. He touted the importance of incorporating a shuttle bus service running through the entire precinct with drivers who can also act as tour guides, and of improving pedestrian access between the buildings.

He also proposed a plan that would include the city’s bridges in the precinct and see  them used for art exhibitions and events.

Moreover, he highlighted the importance of adding more foreign language signage, particularly Chinese, to meet the needs of the growing Asian tourists, and recommended extending the opening hours of major cultural institutions in the precinct.

Walker encouraged Queenslanders to get involved and help shape the future of the Cultural Precinct leaving their comments on the master plan at the Government’s website: www.arts.qld.gov.au.

“Planning for the future of this piece of public infrastructure is vital in the face of Brisbane’s rapid population growth and the changing inner-city landscape,” he said.

After public consultation, the plan will be ready by mid-2014.