The enormous unrealised cultural, social, tourism and business potential of Rockhampton’s CBD prompted the Rockhampton Regional Council to prioritise investment and the revitalisation of the city centre. As a first stage catalyst, the CBD’s waterfront was identified as the most significant opportunity to drive renewed confidence, investment and attraction into the heart of the city. Through placemaking, delivery of design excellence, and revitalising the city’s most important open space asset, the Riverside redevelopment is the first stage in repositioning the city centre to once again be the vibrant and dynamic heart of the region. The Riverside precinct extends 600 metres along the Fitzroy River encapsulating 3.3 hectares made up of the upper and lower bank parkland and portions of Quay and Denham streets. The riverfront is the most important of Rockhampton’s public open space assets flanked by iconic heritage buildings of national significance.
From the outset, the vision for the Rockhampton Riverside Redevelopment has been to provide the people of Rockhampton with a world-class civic and recreation space that celebrates the city’s unique character. Responding to this vision, the design creates a riverfront that is contemporary and coherent with a clear and strong sense of place. Six placemaking strategies have informed the design:
– Celebrating and leveraging the State’s largest regional collection of heritage buildings;
– Providing a platform for festivals, celebration and community gathering for the people of Rockhampton;
– Delivering a natural, outdoor venue that offers respite from hot and humid conditions;
– Amplifying and capitalising on the beauty of the natural landmarks of Fitzroy River and Mount Archer as a backdrop to the precinct;
– Leveraging Rockhampton’s rich collection of art and passion for theatre and performance; and
– Creating a special place to drive a groundswell of local pride in the city.
The design has been informed by significant participation and input from the local community, businesses, Council’s internal teams and Councillors. Through workshops, the project team extracted real issues affecting residents and adjoining businesses resulting in positive adjustments and refinement of the concept. Throughout the engagement phase, the team partnered with elders from the Darumbal Nation, Council’s Events and Marketing teams, Rockhampton Enterprise, the Rockhampton Art Gallery, the local police, ambulance and fire / emergency services.
The completed Riverside redevelopment:
– Delivers over 30,000 sqm of high quality public realm for the people of Rockhampton, tripling the amount of civic and public open space that existed previously;
– Activates the waterfront allowing people to engage with the Fitzroy River and the lower embankment; and
– Increases capacity for events by being event ready with built in base-line infrastructure. The upgraded precinct is now home of the annual River Festival, River Revere and now monthly food and wine festivals.
– Creates iconic and memorable “postcard” moments including: Public art works such as Tom Borgas’s ‘Alluvia’, Belynda Waugh’s ‘Tilt’ and Raymond Garrett’s ‘Munda-Gadda’; water play including a 206-nozzle pop-jet plaza, misters in shade sails, and a 5m wide digital water wall; world-class architecture including the riverside Boathouse Restaurant projecting out over the Fitzroy River; opening key vistas and sight lines down Quay Street to heritage buildings including Customs House; shaded amphitheatres and terracing that traverse the upper and lower embankments; and a destinational playground draped across four terraces stepping down to the Fitzroy River.
– Responds to the inevitability of the site’s flood conditions ensuring robust design and easily removable elements to protect until flood waters recede; and
– Creates a living street with seamless ‘juperana’ stone shared zone upgrades to the Quay and Denham Street environments supporting pedestrian priority, slowed traffic, on-street dining and activation of the urban edge.
The project delivers new levels of technology in public open space including:
– Custom designed smart poles;
– Heritage façade lighting;
– 17 external (theatre-grade) moving lights with projectors;
– Digital banners and touch screen notice boards;
– Sound system that plays music and public notice announcements;
– GPO’s and 3-Phase power on every light pole for events;
– Publicly accessible Wi-Fi network;
– Motion sensors and CCTV;
– Remote accessibility for Council to manage irrigation, litter bins and BBQ’s;
– Parking sensor system and smart device app displaying available parking spaces; and
– Electric Vehicle charging and bicycle maintenance stations.
Council should be commended on their vision and delivery of this unique and memorable precinct. The outcome has created a safe, visually cohesive and high quality environment that amplifies the social, cultural and built form heritage values of this location. In the short while since opening, the Riverside precinct has already begun driving the establishment of new businesses as well as stimulating growth, jobs, tourism and vibrancy.
Entrant office name: Urbis Pty Ltd
Role of the entrant in the project: Project Management, Master Planners, Urban Designers and Landscape Architects
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Urbis Project Team – Glen Power, Emma Crick, Kyle Mackintosh, Violetta VanGhert
Project Collaborators – Woods Bagot (Architecture), Vision Hospitality (Food Service and Beverage Consultant), McMurtrie (Civil and Traffic Engineering), Kehoe Myers (Structural Engineering), Butler Partners (Geotech), QQS (Quantity Surveyor), Anderson Consulting (Electrical, Mechanical and Fire Engineering), Edwards Irrigation (Irrigation), Urban Art Projects (Public Art and Curatorial Consultant), Street and Garden (Street Furniture), Dotdash (Signage and Way-finding), Techno Water Designs (Water Play Design Specialist), AUS Safe (Safety Consultant), WSP (Lift Specialist)
Project location (Street, City, Country): Quay Street, Rockhampton, Australia
Design year: 2015 & 2016
Year Built: 2018