Project Background

THE GOLD Coast Cultural Precinct Project has been in the planning for a number of years.

Evandale was first identified as a preferred location for an arts centre in the late 1960s. It took almost 20 years before the first Entertainment and Arts Centre was constructed on the current site. Since opening in 1986, the centre has undergone many modifications and extensions and is a substantial community cultural asset. It has a strong reputation through delivery of quality programs, exhibitions and a growing city art collection. But it is bursting at the seams. Current facilities limit opportunities for expression and appreciation of the Gold Coast’s unique culture and development of the city’s creative potential.

The growth in artistic and cultural expression has mirrored that of the city itself.  With a residential population now exceeding half a million people, demand for greater access to cultural facilities and options mounted during the latter part of the 2000s.

What followed was a series of community consultations and exploratory design investigations. This preparatory work culminated in several key documents and the formation of a Vision for the cultural precinct:

Together, this body of work has created the foundations for the Design Brief , which will guide the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Design Competition and delivery of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.

Project Timeline

Year Project Milestone
1968 Council purchased the Evandale site with the intention of building a ‘civic heart’ for the City. The community had expressed interest in and support for a cultural and arts centre.
1976 The City of Gold Coast Administration Centre was opened on 11 September.
1986 The Gold Coast Community and Entertainment Centre, named the Keith Hunt Community, Entertainment and Arts Centre, was officially opened by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Walter Campbell, on Saturday 6 December. The Arts Centre cost more than $15 million to construct.

Some thoughts at the time were:

  • “There has been too much division in this city because of small thinking by little people in little groups worrying about their own little issues.” - Alderman Keith Thompson.
  • “We have a responsibility to make a decision for the city now ..and into the future. A culture centre will broaden the horizons of a lot of people and open them up to a whole new world which I think can only benefit the city as a whole.” - Alderman Keith Thompson.
  • “Every city needs a heart, and now with an arts centre going up, the Gold Coast will have a heart to beat loud and strong.” - Mayor Alderman Denis O’Connell.
1990s Visitation to the Arts Centre grew from 100,000 per annum in the 1990s to over 500,000 per annum in 2012.
2008 The Bold Future community survey informs Council they want more cultural spaces as part of future city planning. The request for more cultural spaces includes - innovative spaces to interact, preservation of our cultural and indigenous heritage, exposure to cultural and creative pursuits and support for home-grown industries.
2009 The Cultural-Civic Precinct Taskforce holds a national 2009 Design Ideas Competition. Architects from around Australia conjure design ideas for a cultural precinct, showcasing the value in the Evandale site. The winner is Super Colossal’s “Island of Culture”.

 > Link to 2009 Ideas Competition


An Evandale Precinct Taskforce masterplan is developed to illustrate the potential for Evandale as a cultural precinct, incorporating a range of new cultural facilities to complement the existing parklands and lake.

> Link to Council Report (14 September 2010)


A consultation process was undertaken to determine the community's wants and thoughts for a future cultural precinct on the Gold Coast. The feedback indicated a strong level of community and stakeholder support for the development of a cultural precinct. It also raised a number of areas for Council to consider when moving to the next stage of the project. These include:

  • Distinctive, Innovative and Green: ensuring design of the precinct is forward-thinking, distinctively Gold Coast in style and sympathetic to the natural environment
  • Accessible: improving public and active transport connections and providing adequate on-site car parking
  • Diverse and Active: ensuring a greater mix of cultural activities and facilities for all types and ages of people
  • Parkland Retention and Enhancement: maximising access and enhancing the parkland, especially the lake and riverfront edges, for community recreation
  • Value: demonstrating and delivering return on financial investment required for the development.

> Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Community Consultation Report 

> Link to Council Report (21 June 2011)

2012 New Mayor Tom Tate promotes the importance of a cultural precinct:
  • “The Gold Coast is ready for a world-class cultural precinct, an important feature of any globally competitive city.
  • "We want to see design concepts for a cultural precinct which will become revered by citizens and visitors and synonymous with expression of the Gold Coast’s identity. And we want it to become our cultural heart and soul, a must-see destination for Gold Coast residents and visitors, a place where pivotal moments in our city’s life take place.
  • “What makes a city legendary?...for most of us the answer is the heritage and the romance associated with a culture that has grown from the arts, architecture, music, drama, theatre and opera.
  • “It is our younger generations that form part of the solution on how to fix our city. They are the foundations…we provide a platform that encourages our children to enhance their creative side.” – Mayor Tom Tate.

Council endorses the intention to run International Design Competition on 23 October.

> Link to Council Report (23 October 2012)


Council endorses the process, Design Brief and Jury for an international design competition on 12 March.

On 21 November the competition winning design by ARM Architecture + Topotek1 was announced ahead of a three-week exhibition titled THE REVEAL: Designs for a new Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.
Link to Council Committee Report 15 May 2013 (Adopted 28 May 2013)
Link to Council Committee Report 15 November 2013 (Adopted 19 November 2013)

2014 Touring Exhibition. Touring Exhibition of the winning concept visits Gold Coast libraries, community centres and major events, directly reaching more than 4500 residents.
Link to Council Committee Report 15 October 2014 extract (Adopted 16 October 2014)
Link to Council Committee Report 27 November 2014 extract (Adopted 28 November 2014)

Initial concepts for Stage 1 are unveiled and a Managing Contractor, ADCO Constructions, appointed to deliver this first step in the project.

Decommissioning of Evandale’s first civic chambers and Council administration buildings begins with a celebration of the precinct’s transformation, ahead of Stage 1 delivery.

Urban Oasis, public art competition, begins the evolution of the Cultural Corridor from Surfers Paradise, across Chevron Island, to the Cultural Precinct. A public competition also delivers a vibrant piece, Gold Coast Happy Days, by Gold Coast artist Go Suga, as the winning Stage 1 site fence artwork to surround the precinct’s Stage 1 compound during construction.
Link to Council Committee Report 12 February 2015 (Adopted 17 February 2015)
Link to Council Special Budget Committee Report 4 May 2015
Link to Council Special Budget Report Adopted 5 May 2015
Link to Council Special Budget Committee Report 8 September 2015 (Adopted 11 September 2015)
Link to Council Committee Report 26 November 2015 (Adopted 1 December 2015)


Stage 1 construction phase commences.

Link to Council Committee Report 24 June 2016 extract (Adopted 24 June 2016)
Link to Council Committee Report 4 August 2016 (Adopted 9 August 2016)
Link to Council Committee Report 24 November 2016 (Adopted 29 November 2016)


Link to Council Committee Report 11 May 2017 (Adopted 17 May 2017)
Managing Contractor, hansen Yuncken, appointed to deliver the international standard city gallery. Link to Council Committee Report 9 November 2017 (Adopted 14 November 2017)
Stage 1a outdoor stage and concert lawn construction completed in December 2017.

2018 HOTA, Home of the Arts was adopted as the new name and brand of the precinct. 


See what Gold Coasters have said about the need for a cultural precinct.