Congratulations to the entrants and winners of the Gold Coast Urban Design Awards 2023.
The awards celebrate the best of our built environment and is the city's most prestigious platform for recognition of design excellence, liveability and sustainability.
Scroll down to view the designs included in the 2023 Urban Design Awards.
Excellence in Urban Design Award
The Spit Redevelopment
Submitted by Place Design Group
Photo courtesy of Place Design Group
The redevelopment of The Spit was created 'for the community, by the community' to revitalise one of the Gold Coast's most-loved destinations. The outcome achieved for this iconic stretch of beach is exemplary. It feels worthy, understated, engaged, and enduring. It is evolving as a destination that locals and international travellers increasingly seek out.
The urban design transforms a place formerly the domain of hardy infrastructure and commercial fishing into a delightful, inviting, accessible, functional, and personable public open space. Unobstructed views, resilient landscape, emergency access stairs, amenities with ambience, and robust concrete detailing all contribute to the transformation of the Moondarewa Spit foreshore into a culturally rich Gold Coast promenade.
While savouring the sunset from one of the delightful architectural pavilions of diverse styles and orientations is one of the many tangible values of The Spit, the anticipation of future magic through the community led masterplan to deliver a realm vision for the next 30 years is the hidden treasure.
The Spit illustrates the capacity for urban design to transform place and reveal the enduring value it provides to the community.
Award for Urban Design Leadership
Awarded for consistent leadership across various roles in Queensland delivering transformative sustainable community planning and development, affordable housing and urban design direction and management.
Paul’s leadership started over 40 years ago in our own former Albert Shire Council. He soon attracted significant attention through his planning, urban design, and housing innovations at the multi award winning residential master planned community of Varsity Lakes. Paul’s greenfield residential work on the Gold Coast also informed his co-authorship of the Queensland Residential Design Guidelines, which further supported the development industry to create better places beyond our own city boundaries.
Expanding his aspirations to provide abundant, sustainable, and ecologically responsible market affordable housing throughout the state, it’s perhaps the significant role Paul had in the formation of Economic Development Queensland in 2007 that was is his greatest legacy. He was the inaugural CEO at the Urban Land Development Authority for five years, elevating the lifestyles of many Queenslanders through the championing strategic urban design.
With well located gentle density housing as an urgent agenda, it is a privilege for the Gold Coast to claim its role as a formative city for the award worthy leadership Paul has extended across Queensland through his transformative sustainable community planning, innovative development models, affordable housing focus, and urban design direction.
Urban Design Award: Public Project
Pimpama Sports Hub
Submitted by Place Design Group & Liquid Blu
It often falls to local government to deliver important social infrastructure for its community. How well it does that is a critical issue, both as a leadership model for public action in the short term, and as a cost-effective investment by the community in the longer term.
While sitting within its natural environment at the edge of the neighbouring housing precinct invites further social investments, the Pimpama Sports Hub is a good example of not only collecting an impressive array of recreational and social facilities together (going beyond its 'Sports' name) and in a friendly, people-scaled way, but leading by delivering a strong sustainable environmental outcome. Its commitment to be 100% energy self-sufficient, for example, is to be applauded.
The Pimpama Sports Hub is a worthy award-winner for public development that seeks to provide a leading role model of sustainable design.
Urban Design Award: Private Project
Bond University Health Sciences & Medicine
Submitted by BDA Architecture
Bond University has created a benchmark for Urban Design with the extension of the Health Science and Medical building at the main Robina Campus. The defining feature of this project is its responsiveness to site and climate.
Taking full advantage of the enviable climate the Gold Coast enjoys, the building draws in the natural light and air, with an immense floating roof to the internal courtyard and an extended façade opening to the neighbouring treed area. Protection is given with blade and batten systems which also serve to integrate the previous stage of the building, allowing a thoughtful continuity of aesthetic.
Each space within the complex has obviously contemplated the flexibility of use and the engagement of all users. Character areas have been created that sit alongside each other comfortably, enticing you from place to place with ease and welcome.
This project cohesively combines the complex requirements of each built environment discipline to produce a project that contributes most positively to our urban realm.
Urban Design Award: Adaptive Reuse Project
Tom Atkin Hall Rejuvenation
Submitted by Tugun Progress Association
The elegant adaptation of Tom Atkin Hall, or The Tom as it is affectionately known to in the local community, demonstrates what can be achieved with a relatively modest budget when thoughtful urban design, agility, and persistence are deftly deployed. Delivered by the Tugun Progress Association, with generous support from local trades, community supporters and volunteers, the makeover this award celebrates is impressive. Not only is it notable for the high-quality public space that has been made, but also for how intelligently and diligently this outcome has been delivered by the project team.
What was a building that many would have dismissed as a characterless remnant of the 1960s has been transformed into a valuable addition to Tugun’s urban realm. A playful pink neon sign combines with a generously remodelled entry porch, expertly realised curving stair and ramp, as well as planting and hard landscape features, to make a welcoming ‘address’ on Golden Four Drive.
Tom Atkin Hall is an inspiration for showing what great civic value can come from committed local community action and good design.
Urban Design Commendation: Public Project
Peninsula Playground, Broadwater Parklands
Submitted by City of Gold Coast
The Peninsula Playgroup forms part of the Broadwater Parklands and serves as a major destination play attraction delivering an holistic urban design approach that engages the unique Broadwater environment with accessible, challenging, sensory and nature based play experiences as well as open space recreation facilities. There is an absolute sheer delight that exudes upon visiting the abundantly colourful Playgroup in full action mode, with attention dancing between activities offering Country and Indigenous storytelling to the play tower that rivals many of those adorning our Gold Coast skyline.
Marking the exchange between river and ocean, the Playgroup space offers a link between land, sea, and sky that serves to increase the connection to the foreshore and to other community assets. Safety and accessibility have been delivered in a manner that does not erode the pleasure of adventure and the joy of curiosity. The project exhibits best practice play principles as well as strong visual links to the Broadwater, while the urban design skilfully introduced multiple themes of environmental responsibility, social interaction, and multigenerational engagement through space.
The Peninsula Playgroup certainly forms an example of exemplary recreational urban design that we could love to see more of on the Gold Coast.
Urban Design Commendation: Public Project
Capri Island Bridge
Submitted by Archipelago
Capri Island Bridge has sound urban design principles at the front of mind. It exemplifies that excellent public infrastructure goes beyond just the scale and frequency of its use and becomes part of the connective tissue of a thriving society. The design is subtle and streamlined, incorporating an understanding and connectedness with the local area while ensuring privacy considerations diminish impact on the surrounding residents. It delivers a timeless visual appeal and integrates lush native subtropical planting and acoustic screening into the sculptural form of the bridge.
The design enhances urban active spaces and incorporates pedestrian access that allow for accessible use for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters, wheelchairs, and vehicles. Active transport is facilitated into the evening with integrated lighting to ensure a safe and responsive environment for pedestrian traffic.
Capri Island Bridge is awarded a commendation for exhibiting a high standard of excellence in public urban design.
Urban Design Commendation: Private Project
Anne Street Garden Villas, Southport
Submitted by Anna O’Gorman Architects
A safety net of secure social housing for those of us who need it is an important contributor to the wellbeing of our community.
The Garden Villas in Anne Street, Southport, deliver housing that is appropriate to the needs of its low-income residents, thoughtfully designed to be highly liveable and carefully, almost unobtrusively, integrated into an existing neighbourhood, close to public transport.
Most villas face and define the street to deliver dignity and individual address and through carefully designed front fencing, contribute responsibly to the pedestrian safety of the street public realm. The detailed environmental design then responds to its east-west orientation and the environmental sustainability is enhanced by solar panels and rainwater harvesting. While respecting the privacy and territoriality of both individual households and the group as a whole, the project creates an attractive landscaped communal space appropriately private from the street.
There is an element of careful, responsible, and research-grounded experimentation across the project, accompanied by creativity, which is one of the proper mandates of a civic agency to explore and demonstrate better ways of designing housing for our varied needs.
The Anne Street Garden Villas are commended for their quiet and well-designed contribution towards a good community.
Urban Design Commendation: Advancement of Urban Design Unbuilt Project
Broadbeach Place Making Plan update 2022
Submitted by City Place Making, City of Gold Coast
Building on the previous 2016 Broadbeach Master Plan, this guide for the precinct responds to changing trends following the impacts of COVID-19 and focuses on 7 key study areas in Broadbeach, including Broadbeach Mall, Kurrawa/Pratten Parks, Main Place/Gold Coast Highway, Surf Parade, Victoria Avenue, Victoria Park, and Old Burleigh Road, forming a place making strategy that Council are to be congratulated for.
Stepping beyond the prescriptions of the City Plan, promoting urban design, usability, and connectivity, while earnestly considering the local and visiting users of the area and their needs and wants is well balanced with high-level street beautification designs that are both practical and beautiful, encouraging pedestrian movement through the area. The door is left open for future studies to include road reprioritisation, permeability, public art, wayfinding, above ground connection, and further engagement with private developments.
Broadbeach is internationally regarded and serves as the destination for many local, regional, and international visitors, and the Broadbeach Placing Making Plan recognises the responsibility of promoting this unique Gold Coast precinct to the absolute best standard.
Urban Design Award entries
272 Hedges Avenue Pedestal | Submitted by Contreras Earl Architecture
The Lanes Residences | Submitted by Contreras Earl Architecture
Luna | Submitted by FORME
Norfolk | Submitted by FORME
Marine Stadium Jetty and Pontoon | Submitted by Gold Coast Waterways Authority
Cabana | Submitted by Plus Architects
The entries were judged by the following eminent selection panel from the fields of architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and construction.
Amy Degenhart is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and is currently serving as the Queensland Chapter President. Amy is also Director of DegenhartSHEDD architects + urban design and Bubble Up. With a Bachelor of Architecture (High Honours) from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Amy has spent 35 years designing innovative, sustainable, and affordable housing in Queensland.
Amy has been recognised with accolades from the Australian Institute of Architects, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Urban Design Awards, the World Architecture Festival, and Good Design Australia.
Tessa is a registered landscape architect with extensive experience in landscape and urban design for public realm, infrastructure, parks and open spaces, and residential communities. Having a special interest in creating places that work for the people that use them, Tessa weaves functional imperatives into landscapes that fulfill the more subjective objectives of placemaking, unique character and amenity.
Tessa currently holds the position of Queensland Chapter President for the Australian Institute of Landscape Architect, having held an Executive position since 2018. Tessa is also Director & Registered Landscape Architect for Fred St Pty Ltd.
Patrick is a town planner with over 20 years’ experience. Working in state and local governments and private consultancy has enabled him to create a unique knowledge base, which has been drawn on by council, and as an expert witness in the Planning and Environment Court and the Supreme Court.
Patrick currently holds the position of Vice President for the urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) and is Director of URBIS. Patrick uses his expertise to create strong relationships with clients and government and ensure timely and cost-effective project outcomes on a range of statutory planning projects. He has managed his own consultancy business for over a decade.
Catherine began assessing the heritage significance of places in the Queensland Government’s Heritage branch in 2003, having been inspired by the places she visited while traveling in India, Europe, and the United Kingdom. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of the normative and technical aspects of Queensland’s heritage place framework.
Catherine has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Queensland, with a minor in Anthropology. She is currently Director | Heritage with the Department of Environment & Science has also worked for architectural firms in Brisbane and London, and in a university research centre studying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and environments.
After 15 years working across state and Commonwealth governments, Owen joined the Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) in 2022 in the role of General Manager, Ratings and Delivery.
Within the ISC, Owen leads the Ratings and Technical business units, and is responsible for all activities associated with the Infrastructure Sustainability Ratings Scheme. The IS Ratings Scheme measures sustainability performance across environmental, social, economic and governance outcomes for major infrastructure assets across Australia and New Zealand. Sustainability outcomes are independently verified and certified to celebrate sustainability success.
John Byrne is the Principal urban designer with Byrne Urban Design and is recognised for his contributions to Australian city-making with Life Fellowship of both the Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute. He is known for expertise in the planning and design of housing, mixed-use precincts and urban centres, in Safe City by Design, and advising on aged care and social impact assessment.
He was one of the founders of the Urban Design Alliance and is an inaugural Member of its Hall of Fame. A co-winner of a prestigious Australian Award for Urban Design, he provides advice to state and local governments and private groups, and is an active writer, panellist and presenter.