Queensland, Golden Chips and the Temptation of the Asia-Pacific Model
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In the wake of Brisbane’s recent history and its effort to strengthen its geopolitical role in the Asia Pacific region, the construction of the Queen’s Wharf Integrated Resort Casino in the Brisbane CBD by 2017 will play a central role, bringing a dramatic change of scale and culture in the architectural development of the city. This project is the linchpin of a broad strategy, which promotes tourism infrastructure to ensure Brisbane’s visibility and presence in the Asia Pacific market. With their association to a luxury lifestyle made of glittering golden chips and ostentatious opulence, the casino has a prime role within Brisbane’s rebranding strategy. To attract international visitors seeking the experience of a world-class city, however, integrated resort casinos are only one component of a larger inventory. Iconic pedestrian bridges, panoramic wheels, wonderland gardens and glamourous swimming pools located on waterfronts – already part of the Brisbane urban landscape - have recently become essential features to convey a convincing image of a rampant global city. This paper aims to investigate critically the role of architecture in the making of contemporary city, focusing on the recent transformations on the area across Brisbane’s CBD and South Bank. In order to understand Brisbane’s strategic use of architecture to consolidate its position in the international market – and the repercussion of this choice – the paper will adopt a historical perspective on this phenomenon, considering Moshe Safdie’s research on high-density mixed-use integrated resorts, including his projects for the Robina International Casino (1982) in Queensland’s Gold Coast, Marina Bay (2011) in Singapore and the most recent Chongqing Chatianmen mixed-use intervention in China. The comparative analysis of these precedents with Brisbane’s urban restructuring will build an understanding of the existence of a consolidated urban trend and highlight the circulation of architectural ideas and strategies across Asia Pacific cities.
Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand Vol. 33
© 2016 SAHANZ. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Architectural History and Theory