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Developer forced to ditch Zaha Hadid’s Brisbane towers plan

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Australian developer Sunland has been forced to abandon plans drawn up by Zaha Hadid Architects for three residential towers in Brisbane

The client is looking for new designs for the site in the suburb of Toowong after losing a lengthy legal battle over the original plans, which Hadid herself claimed in 2014 would create a ‘vibrant civic space’ in the Queensland city.

The £240 million project was unveiled four years ago and would have created 486 flats on a riverside plot close to Brisbane’s central business district. The three towers, ranging from 22 to 25 storeys, would have featured curtain wall glazing overlayed with a quilted diamond pattern made from glass reinforced concrete.

But a local resident appealed against the 2015 planning approval, setting in motion a series of decisions that ultimately saw the planning application rejected.

Sunland Group managing director Sahba Abedian said: ’Our vision was to introduce world-class architecture and community parklands to the inner-city riverfront site, which has been closed to the public for more than 160 years.

’Dame Zaha Hadid was truly one of the most creative designers of our generation and leaves behind a legacy of unique architectural works that will inspire generations. Unfortunately, Brisbane will not form part of this legacy. 

’We are now directing every effort to conceive a new architectural outcome that celebrates the unique riverfront site and contributes to Brisbane’s coming of age as a true international city.’

The 15,000m² site was previously home to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation studio which closed in 2006 following a reported breast cancer cluster.

Alongside apartments, Hadid’s design featured eight riverfront villas, parking for 635 cars and 7,300m² of landscaped parkland.

A protected historic building from the 1860s – known as the Middenbury home – would have been retained within the park under the scheme and potentially transformed into a café or gallery.

Abedian said in 2014: ‘Our vision is to create a vibrant urban village which sensitively activates its urban and riverfront context through compelling architecture and landscape design.

‘Importantly, it is a vision that opens up the site to the broader community through the creation of expansive public parklands, a riverside viewing platform and the transformation of Middenbury into a meaningful public space.’

Hadid said at the time: ‘The design tapers each structure to minimise their footprint and open the riverfront to the public; creating a vibrant civic space for Toowong within a new riverside park.’

Zaha Hadid Architects has been contacted for comment. 

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