Urban Design Awards 2017

The Urban Design Awards are presented to recognise outstanding design, liveability and sustainability within the City of Gold Coast.

Scroll down to view the designs included in this year's Urban Design Awards.

Excellence in Urban Design Award & Helen Josephson Award for Urban Design Leadership

Parklands project

Submitted by AAA – a joint venture between architects Arkhefield, ARM, Archipelago

Parklands Project


Parklands is the Gold Coast's largest ever urban-renewal project, and delivers a lifestyle-oriented, transit-facilitated space for living, working and learning. The Parklands Project balances an abundant 7 hectares of green space with another 7 hectares occupied by a 5840-square-metre retail precinct centred around a village heart, as well as 1252 new apartment and townhouse dwellings. Archipelago, Arkhefield, ARM Architecture and LAT27 have master planned, designed and delivered the site for the developer, Grocon.

In late 2017, Parklands was leased to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (GOLDOC), which accommodated up to 6500 athletes and team officials as the Commonwealth Games Village. After the Games, the athletes' village was transformed into a vibrant, inclusive and connected urban mixed-use community that serves in legacy as part of the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, including Griffith University and the Gold Coast University Hospital.

The Parklands Project embraces the colourful cultural heritage of the Gold Coast to create an active, inviting, and human-scaled community, with great streets, an abundance of landscaped space and excellent amenity. The Parklands is an environmentally-conscious development, achieving a six-star rating as a pilot site for the new Green Star Communities rating tool. It also achieved a six-leaf rating under the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Enviro Development rating system.

Urban Design Award

Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre Carrara

Submitted by Cardno, BVN and John Graham

Gold Coast sports and leisure centre


Cardno and BVN were involved in the design of the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, which hosted events at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and provides long-term recreation and sporting infrastructure for the Gold Coast.

The project included 2 new indoor stadiums, adaptive re-use of the existing indoor sports centre, elite and community sports fields, a series of public parks and plazas, landscape, roads and car parking. The design addressed the challenges of working in a flood plain and provided appropriate infrastructure, visitor amenity and legacy values while integrating the existing Metricon Stadium precinct.

Key urban design principles and considerations guided the successful design and delivery of the project including:

  • Acknowledgement and expression of the site's unique context including its relationship to the Nerang River and its stories of growth and change.
  • Creation of comfortable and adaptable spaces that cater for events of various scales and everyday use.
  • Forming a sporting and recreational legacy for the city.
  • Establishment of appropriately-scaled external plazas and landscape that reinforce the perception of a sports complex in a park while allowing for meeting, gathering and circulation.
  • Layering of rich historical references and storytelling through public art and collaboration with artist, John Graham.

City Village terrace homes

Submitted by Robina Projects Australia and Andrew Halstead Architects

City Village terrace homes


City Village terrace homes is a quiet, residential community located adjacent to Robina Town Centre in the rapidly-growing, master-planned suburb of Robina. It delivers a true walkable lifestyle, with 2 direct pedestrian and cycle links to Robina Town Centre and easy access to entertainment, employment and public transport via a lakefront boardwalk, which provides visual separation and quietness.

The development also provides a missing pedestrian and cycle link to the adjacent communities to the south. Everything possible has been done to maximise green space and minimise hard surfaces, for example, by bringing the landscaping right out to the roadway between parking bays and the use of varying retaining and fence wall materials, colours and textures.

These materials and colours are replicated on the buildings, enhancing variety and individuality whilst providing a visual cohesion to each streetscape and throughout the development.

Gaps between and at the ends of buildings provide access for the resident to the public space wherever possible as well as being pleasant landscaped spaces on their own. Privacy between individual lots has been carefully considered to maximise amenity and privacy, with use of strategically-located louvres and screens. The bio-retention has made maximum use of the site topography, being located at the perimeter of the lake where it softens the retaining wall edges whilst aiding privacy.


Shopping centre redevelopment Broadbeach

Submitted by The Buchan Group

Broadbeach shopping centre redevelopment


Before the implementation of this project, the southern edge of the mall has not successfully interacted with mall activity. This project successfully activates the edge of the shopping centre.

A row of north-facing café dining areas is sheltered with a refined skillion structure inviting northern winter sun into the cafés. It creates a defined and consistent edge to the mall, whilst making highly legible and well-scaled entry canopies to the shopping centre.

The integration of signage and windscreens within a feathered canopy edge creates an elegant edge to the mall space. The canopy structure also integrates lighting and landscaping elements, reinforcing a calming, rhythmic edge to a space characterised by level changes, clutter and complexity.

Griffith University Student Guild Uni bar and link eatery

Submitted by Push

Griffith University bar & eatery


This project successfully creates a critical light rail address to the campus via a strategic and imaginative reworking of an existing facility.

The architects have exploited an opportunity to create a new, activated pedestrian spine which is cooled by breezes captured through the manipulation of the 'venturi effect'. Shopfronts have been successfully integrated into a coherent and rich series of spaces that are suitably informal.

The architecture makes a clear and strong welcoming gesture to people arriving from the light rail, inviting use and exploration of a well-considered sequence of human-scaled spaces.

Special mention

Surfers riverside edge treatment project

Submitted by GHD and Gold Coast Waterways Authority

Surfers Riverside edge treatment


The Surfers Riverside Masterplan established a shared vision for a high quality public space that connects Surfers Paradise and the Nerang River and encourages enjoyment of the uniquely Gold Coast waterways.

The Masterplan identified a need for an upgraded river edge treatment in Appel Park. This provided an opportunity to redefine the edge of the river and to increase connectivity between the park and the river by improving pedestrian access to the water's edge.

The built form was designed to be used in a variety of ways, including as a platform to sit alongside the river, as steps down towards the water's edge, as a barrier to prevent falls into the river and the functional purpose of protecting the embankment from damage caused by wave or tidal action. The new river's edge was designed to take the eye to the water instead of detract from the river or impede the view.

The interlocking and staggered concrete blocks create aesthetic interest and seek to introduce colour to the river's edge. The selected colour reinforces the colour of the Poinciana flowers in the park and also helps to provide visual contrast and therefore improved safety along the river edge.

Tactical urbanism projects

Submitted by City Place Making, City of Gold Coast

Tactical urbanism projects


Tactical Urbanism is an important part of City Place Making's suite of urban design revitalisation programs. It offers small-scale, low-cost of around $25,000 to $150,000 permanent place making as well as incremental improvements that can be the first step in ongoing change, allowing places to be quickly and relatively easily refreshed.

Progressive change allows for simple, short-term changes taken from a place making master plan, to help retain community interest in the area and test ideas for future permanent changes.

This successful program is exemplified by the following completed projects: