Clash of Urban Visions: ‘Brisbane Bold 2032’ Sparks Dialogue on Olympic Aspirations

Brisbane Bold 2032 by Archipelago
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Architectural firm Archipelago has unveiled an ambitious proposal for a colossal Olympic Park-inspired precinct at Victoria Park in Brisbane, aptly named “Brisbane Bold 2032”. The firm has set its sights on becoming an integral part of the ongoing 60-day review of the 2032 Olympic infrastructure, spearheaded by the esteemed former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

This transformative plan seeks to supersede the initial blueprints for the Gabba Stadium, originally earmarked as the primary venue for the games, alongside the Brisbane Live Arena planned for construction at Roma Street. Instead, the forward-thinking proposal envisions a metamorphosis of Victoria Park, positioned 1.5km north of the CBD, into a world-class sporting, events, and knowledge precinct.

At the helm of this audacious venture is Peter Edwards, the founder of Archipelago, who sees the 2032 Olympics as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to think big and bold about our city.” Edwards’s innovative plans include the creation of a sprawling 90ha sporting and events venue precinct, boasting a 70,000-seat stadium and an indoor arena. A visionary “green line” is proposed to seamlessly connect key locations such as the University of Queensland, Gabba, South Bank, Victoria Park’s Olympic precinct, and Northshore Hamilton.

^Archipelago's Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment labelled "Brisbane Bold 2032" (Image Archipelago)
^Archipelago’s Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment labelled “Brisbane Bold 2032” (Image Archipelago)

The anticipated costs associated with the redevelopment of the Gabba into the main Olympic Stadium, estimated now at $2.7 billion, have fuelled expectations that the Gabba redevelopment plans may be scrapped entirely.

The surge in construction costs spurred by the global Covid-19 pandemic has cast a critical eye on the feasibility of the Brisbane Olympic plans. The reality of exorbitant expenses looms large, raising questions about the viability of constructing an entire Olympic Games precinct like Brisbane Bold 2032, especially in this complex locale north of the Brisbane CBD.

Amidst this financial scrutiny, another formidable challenge emerges in the form of the ongoing redevelopment scheme for Victoria Park, a cherished Golf Course community with a rich history. Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has been at the forefront, propelling his vision for the expansive area forward. His ambitious plan paints a picture of a New York-style “Central Park” master plan, aiming to transform Victoria Park into an iconic parkland for Brisbane.

^Brisbane City Councils Parklands Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment (Image: Brisbane City Council)
^Brisbane City Councils Parklands Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment (Image: Brisbane City Council)

The Brisbane City Council, aligning with Mayor Schrinner’s vision, is steadfast in its commitment to metamorphose Victoria Park/Barrambin into a natural haven—a retreat and urban park designed for adventure, discovery, and reconnection. The envisaged transformation encompasses the restoration of the natural landscape, the revitalization of wetlands and waterholes, a substantial increase in tree canopy cover from 10% to an impressive 60%, and the creation of distinctive spaces such as the Tree House and a nature water play gully.

“We do have a plan for Victoria Park, but it doesn’t involve a stadium in it” stated Mayor Schrinner

Diving Deeper into “Brisbane Bold 2032” Vision

“Brisbane BOLD” seeks to boost the 2032 legacy outcomes by creating a unified urban corridor. The plan entails affordable keyworker housing, a sports and events excellence corridor within 60ha of urban parklands, and a cross-city green line linking hospitals and universities to the city center. Utilizing Cross River Rail and Metro infrastructure, this precinct aims to advance the city through a vision-led master plan, providing significant cost savings and value-add benefits.

^"Brisbane Bold 2032" aims to create a unified Urban Corridor (Image Archipelago)
^”Brisbane Bold 2032″ aims to create a unified Urban Corridor (Image Archipelago)

The Brisbane Lions, the current tenants at the Gabba Stadium, have rallied behind this ground-breaking plan. Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann emphasizes the potential of a new super stadium at the inner-city Victoria Park, seamlessly integrating stadium facilities with education and hospital resources. Drawing parallels with successful stadium developments like Optus Stadium in Perth and other Australian counterparts, Swann underscores the positive impact on tourism and city growth.

“Those brand new stadiums bring people to the city. It’s great for tourism.” stated Swann

“This place (Brisbane) is growing. In 20 years’ time, we’ll have four million people here.

“I know it’s easy to say ‘why are you spending money on the stadium’?, but every big city has stadiums, hospitals, schools … there’s a place for everything.

“We think that proposal really suits us, as does the stadium, (for) us and cricket primarily and the Olympics, but I think from a legacy point of view, the whole development proposal certainly looks like it should be considered by those in authority,” remarked Greg Swann.

In the ever-evolving landscape of construction costs, the harsh reality is that returning to pre-COVID levels seems increasingly unlikely. The prime era for substantial infrastructure projects may have been before the pandemic, but the second-best opportunity is now. As the commercial construction sector grapples with the unrelenting ascent of costs, seizing the moment has become imperative.

The initial vision for the 2032 Olympic Games involved a strategic plan centered around connecting various central city areas. The International Olympic Committee endorsed and approved this vision, with concerns only riasing when the post-COVID-19 revelation of significantly escalated construction costs came to light. Given the current exorbitant costs associated with hosting the Olympics, irrespective of the construction location within a hosting city, one must ponder: is the original plan still the most viable, and best legacy leaving option moving forward?

The eagerly anticipated findings of the 60-day review, spearheaded by former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, are poised to be unveiled later this month.

Note: The information presented in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or professional advice. While we make every effort to fact-check and verify the information presented, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Readers are encouraged to independently verify any information they find on our website and to consult with relevant professionals before making any decisions based on the information presented. The Australian Development Review does not own the rights to the information included within this article, and furthermore, there is no infringement intended from the included text and images within.

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