Will there be parking?

Yes. With work on Stage 1 confined largely to the east of the Evandale site, most events and activities across the precinct will be unaffected. Carparking for Arts Centre patrons will remain and residents will, when safe to do so, continue to be able to access Evandale’s popular parklands and lake.

However during construction of Stage 1, some parking and access arrangements will change. A fact sheet can be found under Media Centre on this website and updates provided via our eNewsletter At the Precinct. You can register for updates by clicking on the Subscribe button on the Home Page.

In time, as future stages of the precinct are delivered, it is proposed that all parking currently provided on site will be consolidated into basement and structured parking. Four options are considered in the 2014 draft Masterplan, which can be found under Project ‘Masterplan’ tab on this site.

More than seven hectares of the entire 16.9 hectare site is currently dedicated to above-ground car parking and roads. Through underground and structured parking it will be possible to reduce the amount of land area dedicated to at-grade parking. More of this wonderful and unique site can then be freed up for open space and cultural uses.

In the longer term, public transport options also will be increased, along with construction of a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking the precinct to Chevron Island, and providing even more ways to access the precinct.


When will the cultural precinct be built?

Council has approved planning, design and early works to enable the $37 million Stage 1 to be completed before the city hosts the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. But this is a large and complex development, over 16.9 hectares. Precinct development will need to evolve as funding becomes available and will need to accommodate existing uses on site, including the busy Arts Centre Gold Coast. Future stages will therefore be developed progressively after 2018 with the completed project expected to be operating within 10 to 15 years.

Do we really need this? Why not just expand the Arts Centre?

The Arts Centre has served the city well for more than 25 years. Attendance at The Arts Centre has grown from 100,000 visitors annually in the late 1990s to well over 500,000 today.

But it has reached capacity. Its art collection has outgrown the existing display capacity, with almost 3000 pieces of art valued at about $14 million currently unable to be displayed.

The Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city and headed for a population of more than 700,000 in the next decade. The city not only needs, but deserves, a cultural precinct with expanded capacity for the arts and much, much more. Such a precinct will have the ability to unlock the city’s creative potential, contribute to a strong community spirit and attract people and investment.

Early modelling shows that the new cultural offerings which will be part of Stage 1 are expected to draw almost 300,000 visitors annually from 2018, generating $11.4 million in direct tourism expenditure for the city.


Who will build it?

Following a national call for tenders, Managing Contractors, ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd, were appointed in July 2015 to lead final design and delivery of Stage 1 ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Locally-owned, and with an established office on the Gold Coast, ADCO is a nationally recognised construction firm. Since its establishment in 1972, the company has overseen delivery of more than 3000 projects worth more than $9 billion.

Signature Gold Coast projects include the award-winning Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University, as well as redevelopment and expansion of Robina Town Centre, Gold Coast Airport and Pindara Private Hospital.

ADCO will engage the consultants, sub-contractors and trades needed to deliver the $37 million first stage and will work to achieve maximum participation by local businesses and job seekers.

Stage 1 is expected to generate up to 120 full-time equivalent jobs during construction.

Why Evandale?

Evandale’s choice as the preferred site follows lengthy investigation, discussion and consultation.

The 16.9-hectare site is:

  • well-established in the public’s mind as home to the existing Arts Centre Gold Coast.
  • Council-owned (with cost and management benefits),
  • central and easily accessible (with a new Friendship Bridge providing added pedestrian and cycle linkage to Chevron Island), and
  • a rare opportunity for a heart for arts and culture, situated on the Nerang River, adjacent to Surfers Paradise, with outstanding views and a garden landscape.
Will locals have the chance to work on the project?

Yes. Council is committed to ensuring city projects deliver benefits to local businesses and job seekers. This will be the case when we build our new Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.

Stage 1 Managing Contractor, ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd, is locally-owned with an established Gold Coast office. 

ADCO will engage the consultants, sub-contractors and trades needed to deliver the $37 million first stage and will work to achieve maximum participation by local businesses and job seekers.

Stage 1 is expected to generate up to 120 full-time equivalent jobs during construction.

Construction employment for Stage 1 of the Cultural Precinct will be managed by ADCO. To be notified of other employment opportunities with the City of Gold Coast, you can register for job updates

How will the community access the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct?

Access to any major facility is extremely important. The Evandale site is accessible by public transport, pedestrian and cycle pathways and by car.

The new light rail will run nearby, through Surfers Paradise. From here it is a short walk through Chevron Island’s commercial hub, along the proposed Cultural Corridor, and over the planned Green Bridge (for pedestrians and cyclists) to the cultural precinct.

Design of the Green Bridge is underway as part of Stage 1 so it is ready to be built as soon as funding becomes available.

A ferry terminal is also proposed as part of a future stage for the precinct.


What will happen to all the existing events at Evandale?

Evandale is home to some of the city’s most popular annual civic and cultural events, including festivals, Australia Day celebrations and citizenship ceremonies. Most of these existing events can continue to be hosted at Evandale. However some might possibly choose to move to other open space venues in the city.

In the short term, construction of Stage 1 (along the precinct’s eastern edge) will mean a few events could need to be temporarily accommodated at other locations on site during construction. Council is already planning ahead and will work with event organisers to make a seamless transition for events where a change is required. As future precinct stages are constructed over the coming 10 – 15 years, some events could need to be temporarily relocated off-site during construction. Again, Council will be working with the event organisers well in advance. And, in the longer term, the precinct is expected to host an even wider array of artistic programming, events, festivals and celebrations.  It will be home to a packed and evolving program of arts, installations, events, festivals and recreation.

What are the economic benefits of a cultural precinct?

The precinct will help diversify the Gold Coast economy, deliver a boost to the city’s construction industry and provide greater career and employment opportunities in hospitality, tourism and creative arts sectors.

Cultural activities contribute approximately 1.5 per cent to Gross Regional Product (GRP) for the city. This equates to $400 million annually. During construction, it is anticipated the project will create 1300 jobs and support more than 200 jobs ongoing.

Annually, the Gold Coast attracts almost 12 million visitors and tourism contributes $3.5 billion to the economy. A cultural precinct will assist in attracting interstate and overseas visitors to the city. Other Australian cities market their cultural attractions as part of the visitor experience, with travel agents including tickets to the theatre and other shows as part of holiday packages.

Won’t the Gold Coast precinct just compete with Brisbane’s Southbank and other regional arts facilities?

To the contrary, a new cultural precinct on the Gold Coast is expected to build cultural audiences and strengthen the creative sector across the region and Queensland through:

  • Emphasising what each precinct does best
  • Facilitating cost effective, shared, complementary and coordinated programming
  • Providing a solid ‘proving ground’ and stepping stone for more young Queensland talent
  • Expanding arts sector training to ensure Queensland can employ more Queenslanders
  • Generating a regional reputation as an arts and culture incubator – drawing more cultural tourism to south east Queensland as a whole
Why this design?

Evandale has long been the identified as a site for the city’s cultural heart. Currently home to the popular Arts Centre Gold Coast, it is also the city’s civic and cultural centre, hosting citizenship celebrations, cultural festivals and numerous city events.

The search for the best design concept for a new Cultural Precinct has taken a number of steps over the past decade. During 2013 the City of Gold Coast undertook a two-stage  international design competition. It attracted 75 teams from every continent of the globe. From their initial submissions, three teams were chosen to participate in a second-stage, 12-week more intensive design phase. An eight-member independent expert jury determined both phases of the competition. View the jury members

The winning concept was unveiled on 21 November 2013. A distinctly Gold Coast design response, anchored by a colourful, twisting vertical art museum, was presented by a team led by Australian architectural practice ARM Architecture and Berlin-based landscape architects Topotek1. View the competition winning concept

What will distinquish this cultural precinct from those in other cities

It will be distinctly Gold Coast. A cultural precinct must reflect, respond to and amplify the identity of its host city, its people and its environment.

Council’s vision, and the resulting precinct design by ARM Architecture and Topotek1, includes:

  • An exceptional outdoor Artscape – of stunning gardens, ready for artistic programming, events, festivals, cinema and family fun, with a pedestrian and cycle bridge connection to Chevron Island
  • A colourful and uniquely Gold Coast Arts Tower – a vertical museum for local and touring media, art and design, and
  • New and expanded performing arts facilities -  for excellence in local and touring arts and cinema, rehearsal and collaboration spaces.
Who are ARM Architecture and Topotek1?

During 2013 the City of Gold Coast invited the world’s best design teams to submit their concepts for a landmark cultural precinct. From a field of 75 initial entries, and then three shortlisted teams, an eight-member independent jury selected a striking concept with a twisting, colourful vertical art museum as its shining centrepiece. The concept was presented by a multidisciplinary team led by Australian-based architectural firm ARM Architecture and Berlin-based landscape architects Topotek1.

ARM Architecture is based in Melbourne and Perth. It is a multi-award winning architecture practice, specialising in cultural and public projects, including Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre, National Museum of Australia in Canberra, Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Perth Arena, and Melbourne Theatre Company’s Southbank Theatre. Visit their website: www.a-r-m.com.au

Since its founding in Berlin in 1996, Topotek1 has built a reputation around the world for delivering landscape projects which blend architecture, urban design, art and even music. Topotek1’s work has received numerous national awards and prizes including the 2003 German Architecture Prize. Visit the website: http://www.topotek1.de

Will there be more open space?

Yes. Council has stipulated that any redevelopment must ensure no net loss of parkland.

Plans for our new Cultural Precinct include a stunning outdoor Artscape, including enhanced landscaping, artistic activation and even more opportunities for festivals, events and family recreation.

Of the overall 16.9 hectare site, more than seven hectares is currently occupied by above-ground car parking and roads. Introducing underground and structured parking will allow more of the site to be freed up for open space and cultural uses.

Open space estimates drawn from the 2014 Masterplan for future completed precinct development:
•    Existing usable open space          111,000m²
•    Proposed usable open space        133,000m²


What is the Masterplan?

The winning concept, by ARM Architecture and Topotek1 was unveiled on 21 November 2013. Throughout 2014, ARM Architecture and Topotek1 worked with Council, key stakeholders and leading consultants to refine their competition-winning concept into a draft Masterplan to guide physical delivery of the project over the next 15 years. Almost 20 supplementary studies and reports, consultant engagement and community feedback informed the masterplan process. The 2014 Masterplan has enabled Council to progress design and secure the necessary town planning approvals to deliver Stage 1 and will assist in planning future stages for the overall project. View the masterplan

When will the Green Bridge to Chevron Island be built?

The Green Bridge will be a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct to Chevron Island. It will be a key part of a Cultural Corridor from Surfers Paradise, across Chevron Island, to the city’s new heart for arts and culture. 

Design work continues as part of Stage 1, enabling construction should funding become available.

The northern bridge landing – at 223 Stanhill Drive, Chevron Island, has been cleared in readiness, providing a clear view along Mawarra Street, across the Nerang River to Evandale and the future Cultural Precinct. In the meantime, the site will be grassed and maintained.


Will the lake and parkland be protected?

Council has stipulated that any redevelopment of Evandale must ensure no net loss of parkland.

The park and lake are a vital part of what makes Evandale well loved by locals and visitors alike. Development of the Cultural Precinct provides an opportunity to further enhance what makes Evandale so attractive as a family recreation and event space.

In response to community feedback, Evandale Lake’s overall size will be retained and its beaches enhanced for easier access for swimmers. 

Stage 1, to be completed by 2018, will return a large part of Evandale to public use with demolition of decommissioned Council buildings at the centre of the site.

The buildings are making way for development of Stage 1’s versatile outdoor space (or amphitheatre). The amphitheatre’s stage and large central lawn will integrate into the surrounding Artscape s and link to the existing Arts Centre. They will create an important new outdoor venue for performing arts, civic and cultural events, festivals, cinema and family recreation. 

Future stages, to be delivered after 2018, will also need to consider Council’s vision for Evandale to be a central civic, artistic and cultural heart for the Gold Coast with a ‘Great Outdoors – a high quality public space that is open, accessible, green and free’.

View the Vision document.


What does the Masterplan include?

The December 2014 Masterplan retains all the key features of the winning design, including:

•    The precinct-wide distinctive voronoi (web-like) pattern, linking the precinct’s buildings and landscape, blurring distinctions between indoors and outdoors and establishing a foundation for seamless integration of activities across the site

•    The outdoor Artscape, featuring:

  1.  a central Great Terrace connecting the main cultural buildings and creating a meeting point and place for markets, expositions and screenings
  2.  the versatile outdoor space (VOS), or amphitheatre, consisting of a central stage and lawn, integrated into the surrounding Artscape and extending from the Great Terrace and accommodating a variety of events and performances
  3.  playgrounds, gardens, picnic spots, pavilions, boardwalks and beaches
  4.  outdoor exhibition and performance spaces
  5. an enhanced Evandale Lake, including dedicated 110 metre swimming lanes with easy stepped entry, improved sandy beaches and a children’s pool

•    a Green Bridge for cycle and pedestrian connecting the precinct to Surfers Paradise via Chevron Island and a proposed Cultural Corridor. 

•    The Art Tower, new arts museum, including:

  1.  14 levels for city collections, touring exhibitions, storage and observation
  2. 1000m² Great Hall – flexible and conservation grade for significant travelling exhibitions and installations
  3. ground-level theatrette, art showroom, retail, café and community gallery
  4. Gold Coast-oriented collections, studios and youth, family and visitor experiences on lower levels (ground – 5)
  5. middle levels (6 – 8) ‘back of house’ facilities, including viewable and secured collection storage spaces, workshops, education and training rooms
  6. destination galleries on levels 9 – 13, featuring regional collections, photography, new media and ceramics
  7. writers’ salon, library and Friends and Benefactors Lounge on Level 13
  8. public observation roof deck, viewing platform and café on Level 14

•    Performing Arts Centre, with:

  1. 1200 seat lyric theatre for full sized orchestra, large scale musicals and classical dance performances and cinema
  2. 600 seat playhouse theatre, including an auditorium rejuvenated from the existing Arts Centre theatre
  3. black box flexible studio theatre with retractable seating for up to 250 people and multiple performance areas, as well as an adjacent premium function venue overlooking Evandale Lake
  4. large common greenroom and dressing rooms
  5. two 400m² double height ground-level rehearsal spaces
  6. a flexible venue/studio/incubator space on Level 1
  7. recording studio connected to the theatre spaces, doubling as a training and sound production space
  8. 4-cinema complex with capacities ranging from 100 to 250 seats
  9. 2 music venues and 3 additional commercial hire venues overlooking Evandale Lake (in addition to the venue attached to the Black Box)
  10. bars, lounges and foyer spaces

•    For historical reference, the Masterplan proposed conversion of Council’s Riverside Building into a transitional space in the leadup to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018). A key part of Stage 1, the Riverside Hub was to include a Riverside Gallery for interim expansion of the City Gallery’s exhibition and storage space; allied industry space and artists in residence; civic reception areas, café and precinct administration. The Riverside Building however was not fit for purpose as a public art facility and in November 2016 Council endorsed a new international-standard City Gallery concept to be delivered as part of Stage 1B of the precinct following completion (in 2018) of the Stage 1A concert lawn and stage (Versatile Outdoor Space). 

•    The 2014 Masterplan also establishes precinct access for vehicles, public and water transport, parking and way finding for pedestrians and cyclists.

View the Masterplan

I regularly use the Parklands, will permanent amenities be included in Stage 1?

Yes. Evandale Lake and Parklands has long been a much loved destination for Gold Coast families and visitors to the city. The 2014 Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Masterplan will further enhance the enjoyment of these features. 

As part of the transition of Evandale into a cultural, civic and artistic hub, the old, outdated and inadequate brown brick amenities block will also be replaced in line with the precinct masterplan. The first step has been undertaken with the demolition of the old amenities as part of the Stage 1 construction. 

Modern, new and expanded amenities with showers and change facilities are planned for Stage 1 and will open by 2018. The expanded new facilities will meet modern standards, provide a safe environment for families, and will cater for the increased regular visitors expected when the versatile outdoor performance space and Stage 1 opens. 

In the meantime, temporary toilet facilities have been installed between The Arts Centre Gold Coast (Lakeside Terrace) and Evandale Lake. The temporary male, female and accessible toilets provide access from Evandale Lake. The existing lakeside shower will remain.

Aren’t cultural precincts just for the ‘arty crowd’?

All successful cultural precincts from around the world embrace a broad range of users and audiences and are a vital part of any thriving creative economy.

The City of Gold Coast’s vision is for the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct to include drama, music, dance, art, new media and public sculpture, as well as creative educational opportunities and an extensive outdoor program of activities that make the most of the exceptional public space opportunities of Evandale.

The precinct will be relevant to modern forms of cultural expression and learning. It will be digital and interactive, appealing to children, families and school groups… with high quality rehearsal venues, theatres and halls with quality acoustics and a place to explore creative talent.

It will be a precinct for the entire community and the city’s visitors.

What will Stage 1 include?

Stage 1 will be ready to host artistic and cultural programming ahead of GC2018. It will include:

  • A Versatile Outdoor Space (VOS), or amphitheatre – an outdoor stage and event platform integrated into the surrounding Artscape with the city’s skyline as its backdrop. The stage will be fully equipped for smaller audiences of up to 1000 people and provision for larger events of up to 5000 people and beyond. The central lawn will create a green connection with the existing Arts Centre Gold Coast (TACGC). For versatility, there will be no fixed seating, but the amphitheatre design will enable easy bump in of temporary seating where necessary.
  • Initial Artscape works – a curated, artistic and botanical landscape, set around an enhanced Evandale Lake and activated by artistic programming, installations, picnics, markets, festivals and cinema.

Stage 1 early works began in late 2015 to allow for site preparation, including demolition of Council’s existing administration building. Stage 1 will be ready ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™. 
View Stage 1

Future stages will be delivered after 2018. Council will work with The Arts Centre Gold Coast, governments, business, arts and cultural organisations and the wider community to build partnerships, secure funding and activate what will become a must-visit artistic and cultural destination.

*2014 dollars

Stage 1 updates are available by subscribing to the project's eNewsletter titled At the Precinct.

What will a cultural precinct cost?

Designs for a new Cultural Precinct are the result of an international design competition conducted during 2013. During 2014, the winning team, ARM Architecture and Topotek1 worked with Council and a wide range of expert consultants to refine the competition concept. The resulting December 2014 site-wide Master Plan responds to more detailed information on site conditions and constraints, evolving needs and technology, community feedback and construction outcomes and staging.  It offers a range of future, possible staging options, enabling the project to be delivered progressively as the city can afford it. The cost of delivering this amended scope of the overall project is estimated, in 2014 dollars, to be $399 million. 

But longer-term timing and delivery of future stages will depend on funding. Council wants to make the precinct affordable for the Gold Coast community and is exploring a wide range of funding models, including partnering with governments and the private sector.


How has the community been involved?

The 2013 international competition sought submissions from the world’s best design teams. More than 75 teams responded. To protect each participating team’s intellectual property and effort, submissions remained closed until announcement of the winning concept, on 21 November 2013. View The Reveal Exhibition

Following this announcement a curated exhibition of the winning concept, by ARM Architecture and Topotek1, was unveiled on 21 November 2013 at the City Gallery, The Arts Centre Gold Coast. The exhibition ran for three weeks and was accompanied by a broad range of events, talks and tours. More than 4000 people visited the exhibition, with many taking the opportunity to provide feedback. A tailored exhibition has since toured the city throughout 2014. Engagement has directly reached more than 4500 further people and many more have been made aware of the project through the exhibition at city libraries, community centres and events.

The project has received more than 80 per cent support among those providing comment and feedback since the Reveal announcement. This feedback has helped guide development of a site-wide master plan which integrates the winning concept with plans for staged delivery of the precinct’s overall 16.9 hectares.