PRAX Studio proposes a concept for the Toombul shopping center



The redevelopment of Toombul Shopping Centre, considered one of North Brisbane’s beloved shopping centres, has been on hold since floods in February 2022 left it in a state of disrepair.

While many politicians ensure that Mirvac engages with the community on any new redesign, a multidisciplinary firm of architects, planning and urban design in North Brisbane wasted no time investigating the full potential of the site. The prepared concept responds to the community’s call for the local mall to be restored, retain the entertainment venue, resist flooding and retain the local landmark to preserve the collective memory of the past 54 years since the opening of the center.

Designed by PRAX Studio, the Concept Master Plan was not endorsed by Mirvac but was prepared for community consultation prior to the release of Mirvac’s design. The principles of architecture, interior design and town planning have been taken into account in a new vision of the large site.

Stephen Pratt, Director of PRAX Studio, points out that as a local company, there was an opportunity to engage with the developer as a stakeholder in Toombul’s future and share their views on its redevelopment.

“During the February 2022 floods in Brisbane, Toombul Shopping Center was inundated and has remained closed ever since. The center is a key transport, shopping and community hub serving the northern suburbs and its sudden closure has been devastating for residents. Comments from local community groups reveal the sense of loss they share.”

“Toobul was not only a place where their practical needs were met, but it also holds a place in collective memory as the setting for a series of life events – from the prosaic to the profound – in which the community situates its common identity”.

Overall view of the site from the south
Overview of the site from the northwest

“Our master plan vision for Toombul prioritizes the needs and wants of the community while making the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a new open, green and accessible community core for the enjoyment of future generations. By advocating for the community and articulating a vision in which their views are better represented, we hope to contribute to a development outcome that will be a lasting part of public architecture worthy of this marvelous site,” Mr. said Pratt.

Overview of the site from the southwest
Flood mitigation strategy integrated with landscaping

Recommended High Level Guiding Principles
– A flood resilience design that celebrates the waterway corridor.
– “Super green” landscaping.
– All parking lots have been moved under a raised ground floor plan.
– Connectivity to a variety of transport options, including a new pedestrian bridge to Toombul station and an integrated bus station.
– Porte cochère carpooling and new green links with priority for pedestrian access.
– A retail center of equivalent size is re-established on the site, configured for a similar range of commercial tenants to meet the needs of the local community.
– The retail area includes large format supermarkets, department stores, specialty stores, cinemas, entertainment venues and food and beverage outlets similar in size and configuration to the existing center.
– A retail model is envisioned that provides an open, outward-facing, permeable, and landscape-focused shopping experience that celebrates our subtropical climate.
– Wide, open-air malls running north-south create permeable links across the site allowing pedestrians, light and air to enter the site while a porous perimeter maintains landscape views from internal shopping malls.
– External food and drink outlets, with landscaped open-air terraces on both levels of the mall.
– A retail food court should be an open, green, airy and bright experience that maximizes views of nature.

Porte Cochere main entrance and raised residential amenity deck
Overview of the South-West Landscaped Public Domain

– A commercially realistic approach to increased density and mixed use on the site.
– Permanent residents and workers can enhance a public space by introducing a more permanent community and extending the activation and passive security of the site beyond retail hours.
– A balance with respect to the impacts of amenities on surrounding neighbors and overall density, height, street setbacks, built form.
– The consideration of impacts on traffic must be sensitive to the design.
– Low-rise residential buildings along the northern boundary of the site to create a smooth transition in scale and commercial uses are oriented to the noisier and more impermeable corridor of Sandgate Road.
– A central small business and start-up incubator hub offers co-working and workshop spaces for local businesses with the option to transition directly into large commercial office spaces.
– A programmed outdoor public green space connects the Kalinga Park Green Enclosure to the Kedron Creek Cycle Path and the Albert Bishop Park Sports Enclosure.
– Landscaped outdoor space extends the amenity of the mall and supports activities for a range of ages and abilities.
– Sustainability guides the design of new buildings and several obvious responses are considered.
– Proposed green roofs, passive solar protection on all glazed elevations, centralized chilled water plant
– Proposal for on-site solar energy production, prioritization of green transport and emphasis on health and well-being.

Grace Street Residential and Open Air Through-Site Link
View from Sandgate Road of commercial offices on the retail podium and pedestrian access
Alfresco Retail Enabling Public Domain
Children’s play area
Community fitness facilities
View from Brookside Lawn
Overview of the South-East Landscaped Public Domain

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Source: information, drawings and images
All article information is retrieved and available for review from referenced locations.
– Press release: provided by Prax Studio
– Interactive image: Google Aerial and Streetview

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