As part of its 2013-14 City Centre Master Plan, Brisbane City Council has released a number of transformative urban ideas, including a revitalisation strategy for the City Botanical Gardens that would see them turned into the green heart of the city centre.
The Gardens Reach strategy proposes intimate landscape revitalisations within the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens including gardens, rolling lawns, connected pathways, and a renewed river edge.
The plan was devised by Urbis, an Australian interdisciplinary consulting firm offering services in planning, design and property.
Located at the end of the City Centre Peninsula, the idea investigated a series of landscape interventions to activate the river’s edge of the urban gardens with water based recreational areas, a waterfront amphitheatre and a new waterfront promenade.
The project is based on three design principles: connect, reveal and activate, and its common objective is to restore the Botanic Gardens as the City Centre’s green heart and as a public space for residents and visitors.
Urbis explained that the proposal comprises a number of ‘simple’ interventions including the creation of welcoming arrival plazas at each entrance to the precinct, a new direct connected pathway network extended from the city grid linked to key destinations within the gardens, new community hubs and public event spaces located at key circulation nods, and a renovated river’s edge including areas for recreational activities and events.
Located in the heart of the gardens, there will be a multi-use community centre including a cafe, an information hub, public amenities, a community space and a venue for public and private events. A green roof will fold out of the ground and go over the building to form a performance stage, opening up the view and connecting it to the river’s edge.
A new River Plaza is proposed at the Edward Street entrance. The plaza will be divided into two different levels and will feature a cafe on the lower deck and a marina. Facing the marina will be a water’s edge playground area where people will be able to rest while enjoying the great views of the river and the iconic Story Bridge. In addition, children will be able to play and even touch the water.
There will be two waterfront decks which will include cafes and canoe rentals. The decks will be constructed over the water and extending the river edge. A rock jetty, river lawns and an onshore open-air cinema will encourage residents and tourists to visit the gardens and enjoy the new pedestrian path that will run along the river.
Taking advantage of the slopped banks of the river, a grassy amphitheatre will create a new community gathering space with views to the river and Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Subterranean structures will accommodate temporary uses including cafes and sporting equipment rental that will occupy the waterfront and help activate the area.
This project is part of a range of ideas submitted by leading design teams to renovate 16 key areas in the inner city which have been identified by the City Council for potential transformation. While there is not any confirmation that the project will be carried out, yet, these ideas are intended to stimulate conversation and capture the attention and imagination of the community, encouraging people to vote online for their favourite ideas to transform Brisbane.