On winning the prestigious Gold Award in the Design Innovation Category for the Brisbane Ferry Terminals project, Project Director, Arne Nilsen said, “The project’s success was the result of a very wide collaboration of disciplines and partner consultants, many of which had never worked together or in such spaces before. I think that was one of the most exciting aspects of the project – to see the unique creative outcomes that flowed from a team without preconceived ideas of how to work with one another, or of what they could produce together.”
Brisbane’s new ferry terminals are a bold design concept and a significant shift away from previous design convention in their aesthetics, flood resilience and accessibility.
Aurecon and Cox Architecture were the successful designers, with a concept that, as described by Brisbane City Council, “integrates technical innovation, flood resilience and elegant form to deliver terminals that will become iconic features of our river city”.
The new generation ferry terminal design had three main objectives which were: improving flood resilience, improving wheelchair and mobility aid accessibility and delivering a modern, ambitious and elegant architectural design in the maritime environment that eliminates the traditional array of pontoon guide piles.
Collaboration at the heart of design innovation
At the core of the project’s many innovations was the depth of collaboration — with Cox Architecture — between the maritime, industrial mechanical and architectural disciplines.
The result is an impressive marriage of form and function, showcasing a bold departure from the conventional approach to such infrastructure, in delivery of an elegant combination of bespoke dynamic and static elements that provide highly functional, resilient public infrastructure allowing the river to be accessed and enjoyed by all.
Further innovative aspects of the terminals’ design include minimising the lateral support structure of the pontoon to avoid the number of piles required by conventional designs. A single sculpted pier and a gangway acting as a radial arm provide all lateral support to the pontoon. The upstream pier also serves to absorb the energy of and deflect heavy objects away during a flood event to prevent damage to the terminal.
A boat‐hull shape inspired pontoon reduces negative lift on leading edge and drag force during floods, and minimises risk of debris impact. The pontoon is both functional and aesthetically appealing, providing largely unobstructed views of the river.
The terminal’s gangway utilises buoyancy to automatically detach from the shore during flood events, swinging behind the broad downstream end of the pontoon and out of the way of debris; simultaneously the pontoon’s downstream mooring point changes function to provide lateral restraint to the pontoon in a flood or post-flood situation.
Unique gangway floor mechanics maintain level intermediate landings throughout the tidal range, providing what is believed to be a world‐first solution for achieving compliant disabled access.
The Consult Australia Awards for Excellence is an annual event celebrating excellence in the delivery of individual projects. The Design Innovation Award, a new award category in 2015, recognises member firms who have demonstrated outstanding innovation in any aspect of the design process.
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