A network of external spaces at 1 William Street, a landmark tower home to the Queensland Government, offers a series of habitable spaces that promote activity at street level, set within a lush sub-tropical landscape. The design vision centres on the creation of a tower within a garden, allowing the landscape to dominate at the ground plane and creating a strong visual and material connection between the site and the City Botanic Gardens – an integral part of the city and parliamentary precinct.
The success of the project can be seen in how these spaces are being used on a daily basis by Queensland Government employees – the site and particularly ground plane has already become a hub of activity during the week with people occupying spaces and utilising the shade and cool respite provided by more than 60 trees planted across the site.
A series of eight distinct platforms cascade around the building, each relating to the adjacent footpath and natural ground level, mediating between the open space and the building. The building withdraws behind the ground level columns, allowing the landscape to enter into the perimeter of the tower zone. The enclosed part of the ground floor is designed to be as porous and transparent as possible, ensuring visual connectivity across and over the site.
Along William Street, the main entry is a formal open space with signature plantings allowing clear visual navigation and legibility to the tower foyer. As the building drops away to the North West, along Margaret Street, the project provides a series of retail opportunities at lower ground floor that cascade into the landscape, ensuring an active and engaged set of places along the street frontage. The interface along the Alice Street edge of the tower provides another retail pod at the plaza level and a sinuous walkway that meanders through a botanically rich sub-tropical garden.
The selection of a single earth-toned stone for all the external hard works is a deliberate strategy to reinforce the tower’s connection to the ground, exposing a series of ‘geological cuts’ in the landscaped platforms. This monochromatic carpet is relieved through the dominance of lush sub-tropical plantings that break through the ground. The selection of stone also relates to the parliamentary buildings, referencing the sandstone colours of this precinct.
With extensive research into the selection of appropriate species for the microclimatic site conditions well ahead of the project completion date, the site is planted with a botanically rich assortment of tress and ground storey plantings that will thrive in the site.
Strategically, the site is set to become a focal point with the Queens Wharf development, which is well underway. This project delivers on the city’s and Queensland Government’s aspirations of creating a vibrant new public realm to the city, that contributes to the health and wellbeing of users and which engages in a dialogue with Australia’s premier sub-tropical city, presenting a benchmark for the extensive new public realm spaces to be developed within Queens Wharf. The site will continue to evolve, to catalyse growth and provide a place for genuine social interaction.