Perth's Elizabeth Quay named UDIA's best for urban renewal

Perth's Elizabeth Quay named UDIA's best for urban renewal
Perth's Elizabeth Quay named UDIA's best for urban renewal

Perth’s Elizabeth Quay development has been awarded Australia’s best urban renewal project by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), Australia’s peak body for the urban development industry.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority's (MRA) Elizabeth Quay project has changed the face of Perth's CBD, transforming 10ha of largely under-utilised land along the Swan River into a waterfront destination, providing a new backdrop for major events, tourism promotions and news broadcasts.

Designed by Melbourne-based ARM Architecture, Elizabeth Quay’s Master Plan allows for others to develop the sites it establishes. It identifies the locations and types of built form desired, areas for pedestrians, pedestrian and vehicle routes, and sight lines to and from other parts of Perth.

ARM developed a design motif dubbed the “ripple-wave pattern” which informed the geometry of the built edges for paving and terraces, building and planting interfaces, furniture locations, trees, stairs and water features.

This motif was inspired by the Wagyl, or rainbow serpent, egg of the Noongar mythology. The pattern is embedded within the paving colours, responding to elements in the landscape such as trees and buildings, and providing the Elizabeth Quay precinct with a cohesive and structured theme.

Perth's Elizabeth Quay named UDIA's best for urban renewal
First Contact artwork by indigenous artist Laurel Nannup. Image: MRA

Since opening in 2016, Elizabeth Quay has attracted over 12 million visitors and hosted more than 150 events, including Perth’s first Diner en Blanc and the Gran Fondo World Championships in cycling.

Planning and construction of Elizabeth Quay was a major undertaking and a logistical challenge for the city but one that continues to return great results for the people of Perth, claims MRA. 

Elizabeth Quay has restored a valuable physical and cultural connection between Perth’s city centre and the Swan River; a connection that had previously been cut by roads and decades of development.

The $440million invested by the State Government in this development was massively ambitious. City roads were realigned, valuable heritage items were relocated and iconic new attractions have been created to transform Perth’s riverfront.

The MRA literally shifted Perth city’s riverline to be closer to the CBD and encourage people to engage with the Swan River. In just under four years, a man-made inlet and 7,000sqm island were built, along with a stunning pedestrian bridge, playground, waterpark, public art, ferry terminal, boat moorings and new places to eat and drink.

While still in its infancy, Elizabeth Quay has proven itself to be a popular meeting place for the community, a must-see tourist attraction and a place that the people of Perth can celebrate with pride.

With more than $2billion in private development still to come – for new hotels, apartments, tourist, student and office accommodation – Elizabeth Quay will continue to be an exciting place to live, work and visit and will generate essential economic activity for many years to come.

- Sean Henriques, MRA Chief Executive Officer

According to MRA, Elizabeth Quay is drawing local, interstate and international visitors resulting in significant economic benefits for Western Australia, with local businesses experiencing record trading days.

The relocation of the city’s public ferry terminal into the inlet has also resulted in doubled ferry patronage.


Perth's Elizabeth Quay named UDIA's best for urban renewal
Future development at Elizabeth Quay and construction progress at The Towers. Photo: SkyscraperCity member Szik

Construction of The Towers at Elizabeth Quay continues with Probuild at the helm of the twin-tower development. Designed by Cottee Parker for Far East Consortium, the development includes a Ritz Carlton hotel tower in addition to a separate residential tower that shares a common podium and basement car parking.

Development rights for the remaining development parcels have also all been awarded as per the following:

  • Lots 7 and 8 - Chevron Australia purchased the lots for $64 million for their Australian headquarters back in 2015 with a planning application deadline of December 2018 in place.
  • Lots 5 and 6 - Brookfield Multiplex has approval for dual towers of 54-storeys and 19-storeys respectively designed by New York based REX. The mixed-use development known as Perth+ will include office space, apartments and hotel rooms.
  • Lots 2 and 3 - CA & Associates' two towers, with a hotel, 313 apartments, 171 serviced apartments, dining and retail. With approval in hand, the Kerry Hill-designed development is expected to commence construction this year.
  • Lot 4 - The final of the development parcels to be awarded, CA & Associates are seeking to develop a mixed-use project comprising commercial, retail and residential uses in addition to a post-graduate education facility and student accommodation. 

Lead image: Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority


Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Elizabeth Quay Perth Urban Renewal UDIA ARM Architecture Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority

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