Brunel at Brisbane Flood Recovery Ferry Terminals


Resilient infrastructure receives the Institution of Civil Engineers’ prestigious Brunel Medal

Brendan Gaffney from Cox Architecture and Arne Nilsen from Aurecon

Brendan Gaffney from Cox Architecture and Arne Nilsen from Aurecon

09 October 2017 – Global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon were recently awarded the Brunel Medal for excellence in civil engineering for their revolutionary design of the Brisbane Flood Recovery Ferry Terminals.

Awarded by the United Kingdom’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) annually, the Brunel Medal is named for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a 19th century mechanical and civil engineer who to this day is considered one of the world’s most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering design.

“Brunel was a true genius in the history of engineering design and innovation,” said Dr Kourosh Kayvani, Aurecon’s Global Director, Excellence & Expertise.

“He combined the science and art of mechanical and structural engineering to create machine-like designs such as Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, England, and infrastructure masterpieces like Great Western Railway line connecting London to Bristol, which broke many world records at its time and included a magnificent terminus at Paddington Station, London, that is still utilised and marvelled today” added Kayvani.

“We are thrilled to receive this international recognition for the Brisbane Terminal’s bold design concept which, like Brunel’s thinking, represented a significant shift away from traditional design conventions, with respect to aesthetics, flood resilience and accessibility,” said Kayvani.

Brunel Medal for Aurecon's Brisbane Flood Recovery Ferry Terminals

The new Brisbane River Terminals – which are now flood-resilient – were designed to withstand extreme weather events such as the devastation brought by the Brisbane flood of 12 January 2011. Following the floods, seven of Brisbane’s existing ferry terminals were either severely damaged or destroyed.

When it came to delivering replacement terminals, the Brisbane City Council’s design objectives were to:

  • Improve flood resilience
  • Achieve wheelchair and mobility aid accessibility
  • Eliminate the traditional array of pontoon guide piles
  • Deliver a modern, ambitious and elegant architectural design in the maritime environment

To stimulate design innovation, Aurecon pulled together 15 different skills across maritime, industrial, mechanical and architectural disciplines. The team then developed a design thinking methodology, heavily focused on the human experience of users and the people of Brisbane.

“This project was truly collaborative across disciplines and teams. We proudly share this achievement with our design partners, architects, Cox Architecture, contractors McConnell Dowell and our client, Brisbane City Council,” said Aurecon Project Director Arne Nilsen who accepted the award at the ICE Gala Awards in London.

This is the second time an Aurecon project has been recognised by the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK. In 2016, the Barangaroo Reserve and the Cutaway, Sydney was awarded the Sir Edmund Hambly Medal.

The Brunel Medal adds to what has been an extraordinary series of accolades for the Brisbane Ferry Terminal design including:

“The terminals have redefined the way passengers and the public interact with the river, are boldly resilient to future floods and incorporate what we believe to be a world-first solution to disabled access on a gangway in a significant tidal context,” concluded Kayvani.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Born in England’s Portsmouth in 1806, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was a mechanical and civil engineer who amidst the Industrial Revolution delivered ground-breaking designs for tunnels, bridges, railways and even ships; changing England’s landscape and the profession of civil engineering.

Brunel designed many extraordinary bridges and tunnels including:

  • The Royal Albert Bridge which spans the river Tamar at Saltash (near Plymouth, England) with its highly expressive form and lightweight construction
  • The Thames Tunnel which was the first tunnel under a navigable river ever built
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
  • The Maidenhead Railway Bridge carrying the Great Western Railway line over the River Thames, which in its time was the flattest and longest span brick arch bridge

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