When it comes to shaping the identity of a city, arts and cultural buildings are at the forefront of our efforts to capture a collective essence, and represent who we are. These places become a record of where we’ve come from, and a vision of who we want to be. For Brisbane, that place is Brisbane Powerhouse.
A proud bastion of our city’s identity nestled on the banks of the river that made us, Brisbane’s history is etched on the Powerhouse’s walls, while its present and future are celebrated, discussed, questioned and challenged within them.
But making Brisbane Powerhouse the stage upon which a city’s cultural zeitgeist might be articulated has taken planning, and RPS is proud to have been involved in the ongoing evolution of ‘Brisbane’s Back Deck’.
A proud partnership
As a corporate partner, RPS has supported the Writers + Ideas program at Brisbane Powerhouse since 2015, in conjunction with O'Neill architecture.
But our support for the venue in fact dates back as far as some of the now-iconic “aerosol art” that adorns its walls, and stretches far beyond the heritage-listed bricks and mortar upon which that art is sprayed.
Our team has been advising the Brisbane Powerhouse team – both formally and informally - on urban planning, place-making and activation for more than 15 years.
This work has included assisting them to achieve approval for the much-loved weekly farmers markets back in 2001, advice on improvements to the interface between the venue and New Farm Park, planning advice to support the highly-successful Moonlight Cinema events, and the renovation of Watt Riverside Restaurant and Bar in 2014.
Bird’s eye view of a cultural icon
Most recently, the RPS Surveying and Mapping team has completed UAV drone fly-overs of Brisbane Powerhouse, creating high-definition LiDAR scans of the building form which can be used for future planning, maintenance and improvement projects.
Landscape art, landscape learning
As part of a long-standing relationship between Brisbane Powerhouse and Queensland University of Technology, for the last two years RPS’ Landscape Architecture team has helped guide 2nd year QUT Landscape Architecture students through the ‘ReGenerate Studio’ design programme – an exhibition whereby creative proposals for the Brisbane Powerhouse landscape are developed.
This is in addition to the advice our Landscape Architects provide themselves on activation and public realm interface for the venue.
Planning advice with plenty of vision
The Brisbane Powerhouse team has a strong vision for the venue as a living, breathing representation of what it means to live in Brisbane -a vision not just for the building itself, but for way they want the whole area to facilitate - an immersive, ‘lived-in’ notion of art. RPS has supported the venue’s growth into a dynamic cultural precinct that is redefined and reimagined each day as people and art flow through it.
Working with Brisbane Powerhouse has challenged RPS’ Urban Planning team to think differently about land use, and find creative ways of achieving desired planning outcomes. And while a lot of work has gone into improving operational aspects like car parking, pedestrian access and the interface with nearby residential properties, cultural and creative considerations are of primary importance.
RPS feels incredibly privileged to have been involved in the ongoing evolution of such an iconic place that is enjoyed by so many of Brisbane’s residents and visitors. We look forward to supporting Brisbane Powerhouse throughout 2017 and beyond.
Image Credit: Steve Griffin