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Brisbane 2032 architecture alliance looks to encourage use of sustainable timber for new venues

Brisbane 2032 architecture alliance looks to encourage use of sustainable timber for new venues
August 30, 2023

Australian design practice Buchan has announced a partnership with Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei and USA-based sports architects HKS with the aim of encouraging the use of sustainable timber and “fresh, local” perspectives for venues being developed for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The three practices are joining forces having identified sustainable timber designs and community-centric architecture as its priority, expanding on Buchan and Nikken Sekkei’s with the Japanese firm currently delivering Buchan’s design for the Australian Pavilion for World Expo 2025 in Osaka.

Explaining that Buchan and Nikken Sekkei have shared aspirations for the people of Brisbane, Buchan’s Brisbane-based principal and precincts sector lead, Phil Schoutrop explains “the 2032 Olympic venues, and the spaces in between, need to capture our communal spirit and not end up being generic places that could be anywhere.

“Buchan’s extensive local knowledge pairs well with Nikken Sekkei’s sustainable design expertise to amplify what makes Brisbane unique.”

With a laboratory dedicated to the research, design, and delivery of sustainable timber buildings, Nikken Sekkei has already built the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the gymnastics venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, out of timber.

Nikken Sekkei executive design fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa, was principal architect on the award-winning building, which, with one of the largest timber roof spans in the world, was converted into a permanent exhibition hall after the Games.

Timber was also one of the major components of the Japan National Stadium, which served as the main venue of the re-arranged 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Nikken Sekkei Executive Design Fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa (pictured above, right), a frequent visitor of the sunshine state, cites Southbank, Howard Smith Wharves and GOMA as distinctive Brisbane destinations.

Nikken Sekkei Executive Design Fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa explains "timber is a beautiful material that resonates with Brisbane's sub-tropical climate and local architecture

"Bringing our expertise in sustainable sports venue design to the creation of distinctly Queensland venues would be a wonderful legacy for our two countries."

HKS joins the alliance with a significant portfolio of global sports and entertainment venues, including Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, which is due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

HKS sports sector lead in Australia, Andrew Colling, is Principal/Director for Australia and New Zealand and worked closely on SoFi Stadium.

Noting that Australians have toured the stadium in the past 12 months, including the Queensland Deputy Premier and the Director General of Public Works, Colling noted “to design for Brisbane, we need to look in the mirror.

“Who are we and what will make a great addition to our city, not just for 2032, but for the next 50 years and beyond?”

Earlier this month, Colling spoke of the potential for a revamped Gabba to feature a timber shell "with blended greenery and sandstone instead of a cookie-cutter concrete stadium."

As reported by The Courier-Mail, Colling revealed that the stadium could incorporate a parkland deck on its roof and a cocoon of timber and sandstone to "create something that's not only distinctively South East Queensland but distinctly Australian.”

The majority of Brisbane 2032 venues are due to be existing structures but seven are planned to be constructed for the Games.

These include a BMX freestyle and cross country equestrian location at Victoria Park, the Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre for basketball, and boxing's Moreton Bay Indoor Sports Centre.

Other venues include the Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre, also for basketball, two Athletes' Villages, the Redland Whitewater Centre, and the Brisbane Live venue due to host aquatics.

Nikken Sekkei Executive Design Fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa (pictured above, right), a frequent visitor of the sunshine state, cites Southbank, Howard Smith Wharves and GOMA as distinctive Brisbane destinations.

Images: The Ariake Gymnastics Centre, built out of timber for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (top), Andrew Colling and Phil Schoutrop (middle) and Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium (below).

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