Outside the box

James Forryan
05 Nov 2009

Arkhefield break with tradition for new Cinema complex in Brisbane

The Barracks is a commercial, retail and cinema redevelopment with a pedestrian link to a majorSports Stadium and city precinct. The Barracks had sat vacant for 20 years, with the redevelopmentcontaining five theatre cinemas, 10,200 sq m of commercial space, a supermarket, plus 2,700 sq m ofspeciality retail and dining, including fresh food markets.

With the clients Arkhefield developed a high density, low‐rise masterplan and negotiated allstakeholder requirements. The brief was complex and involved multiple stakeholders including Stateand National governments, transport services and private companies. Careful consideration of theneeds of major tenants, stadium access, heritage constraints and Barracks patrons has resulted in adistinctive group of buildings.

Previously abandoned schemes included predominantly residential redevelopment; therefore it wasimperative to facilitate the right balance of commercial, retail and entertainment to overcome thischallenge and meet the clients brief. The buildings were incorporated deliberately to create aninviting retail precinct of shops and open air dining with the positioning of pedestrian arrival points,cinema entry and supermarket entry to activate the external malls and lanes at ground level.

An innovative Retail and Commercial precinct was led by resolving the heritage and site accessconstraints. The heritage listed Police Barracks and Stables buildings are much loved Brisbanelandmarks and the design for the precinct required that these buildings retain visual prominence onthe site. Maintaining this led to low buildings with large floor plates which strategically hid the newbuildings behind the old, leaving the Petrie Terrace streetscape intact.

The Cinema was designed as a beacon for night‐time entertainment and provides a unique view ofthe eastern and southern reaches of the Brisbane River, not seen from any other site in the city. Itcelebrates the romanticism of the Cinema unlike the ‘black box’ format commonly used for cinemasin retail developments, and provides a large glass foyer for patrons to take advantage of the cityviews whilst providing a visual link to the diners in the mall.

Overall, the project demonstrates how lively permeable public spaces can be weaved into privateland holdings to the maximum benefit of the city.

Key Facts

Commercial Offices Retail

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