Cairns Regional Council, along with a project team from Tract Consultants, Follent, Peddle Thorp, CA Architects and Total Projects Group Architects was successful in winning the Best Planning Ideas – Small Project at the 30th PIA Queensland Awards for Planning Excellence, announced in Brisbane on 11 November 2016.
The winning project was Council's Tropical Urbanism – Cairns City Image Study.
In addition to winning the category, the Tropical Urbanism – Cairns City Image Study also took home the top honour of the Exceptional Planning Achievement Award (Overall Winner).
The Cairns City Image Study was a collaborative planning exercise undertaken by Council Regional Council in partnership with a consultant team and local architects. Prompted by industry feedback and increasing development pressure for tall buildings that challenged the long-standing low-rise policy on height, the study was a radical review of the Council’s planning policy on height, density and design of tall buildings within the Cairns city centre. The outcomes of the study were incorporated into the CairnsPlan 2016 planning scheme.
The study defines the leading edge concept of Tropical Urbanism as the integration of landscaping and tropical design elements into the built environment. One of the signature design elements of the study is the ‘Street Canopy’ – an architectural expression of the natural rainforest canopy which takes the humble street awning to a new paradigm. Notably, the study also includes requirements for building façade coverage by vertical landscaping which makes a powerful contribution to the public realm.
The Cairns City Image Study study represents a critical turning point in the community’s and Council’s perception of building heights in Cairns. The legacy will be streetscapes that are quintessentially Cairns – cool and green with a built environment that is a physical manifestation and ongoing evolution of Tropical Urbanism.
The project has been nominated for the Planning Institute of Australia National Awards in the category of Best Planning Ideas – Small Project.