Top gong for Cairns Performing Arts Precinct

The linking of a performing arts centre with an open park to create a vibrant community space has won the State’s top award at the 2020 Minister’s Awards for Urban Design in Queensland.

The Cairns Performing Arts Precinct – which links Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) and Munro Martin Parklands (MMP) has been named a joint winner of the Minister’s Award for Urban Design, which recognises contemporary Queensland urban design projects of the highest quality.

There were 20 nominations for the award, with Cairns Performing Arts Precinct clinching the top prize alongside the Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane.

The award highlights the role of good urban design in shaping Queensland with a focus on how collaborative relationships can lead to the successful development of the built environment.

CA Architects, Cox Architecture and Andrew Prowse Landscape Architect collaborated with Cairns Regional Council on the project.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the award was significant and paid tribute to the work done by the architects in working with Council to deliver a world-class project.

“It is very rare for an award of this type to be won outside a metropolitan centre,” Cr Manning said.

“It shows that we have outstanding designers and architects based in the Far North who can deliver world class projects.

“The vision for the Precinct was to create a place that could easily be transformed into a large community space where the people of this city could enjoy performing arts, festivals and gatherings.

“There is no question the team from CA Architects, Andrew Prowse Landscape Architect, and Cox Architecture delivered on that vision.”

The judges’ comments recognised that the two projects – CPAC and MMP – cleverly work together to create a range of cultural event opportunities ranging in size and scale.

“Significantly, the road between both projects has the ability to be closed off for festivals and large performances,” they said.

“The seamless integration between theatre infrastructure within the parkland allows visitors to experience the open space all year round, even when performances are not scheduled, contributing to the civic life of the city.

“The beautifully executed gabion rock walls of the parkland stage delivers a clear sense of performance and authority to the overall placemaking qualities of the space.”

Cr Manning said it was envisaged that the rejuvenation of this historically significant open space and adjacent Cairns Performing Arts Centre would enhance the city centre’s liveability offer to support future growth and densification within the Cairns CBD, such as the Gallery Precinct.

“It is a great loss to our region that the senior levels of Government can’t see this,” he said.

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