In the wake of the devastating 2011 Brisbane floods, architect Brendan Cox and engineer Arne Nilsen rose to the challenge of developing a new design for the city’s ferry terminals. The design addresses the original weaknesses including inadequate pontoon restraints, poor hydrodynamics and debris build up.
Working together, the architect and engineer questioned everything about the previous design. The resulting ferry terminal has won awards for its technically innovative, flood resilient and visually elegant design. It also tackles the issue of universal accessibility, making it a world-first in public ferry infrastructure for compliance with accessibility standards.
Ultimately this marriage of form and function is an example of what can be achieved when architects and engineers work together, question everything, and resolve to find the best possible solution. Brendan Gaffney, in his role as Director of Cox Architecture, has led some of Brisbane’s most significant urban renewal and waterfront projects – the Powerhouse Centre for the Arts, the New Farm Riverwalk, the Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre Grey St Expansion, and Newstead’s Gasworks, for example.
He has made a name for himself in ferry infrastructure, having overseen separate projects dating from 1999, both in Brisbane and at Barangaroo in Sydney. His most important and revolutionary project was the Flood Recovery Terminals on the Brisbane River, working with Arne Nilsen to incorporate world-first innovative ideas related to flood resilience and equitable access.
The resulting ferry terminals are designed to withstand the sort of flood Brisbane hopes it will never see again. His life-saving work received top honours at the Australian Good Design Awards in 2017.
Arne Nilsen’s design work solves potential catastrophes. A Design Director of the global engineering consulting firm, Aurecon, his portfolio of work is rapidly becoming a story of natural crises averted.
Arne focuses on the resilience and adaptability of existing and new maritime infrastructure in the face of extreme environmental events – flooding, storm surges and cyclonic waves, for example.
In 2011, the infamous floods severely damaged or destroyed seven of Brisbane’s 25 CityCat fast ferry terminals. As Project Director of the Flood Recovery Ferry Terminals, a significant upgrade project by Brisbane City Council, Arne worked with Brendan Gaffney of COX Architecture to protect the city against potentially paralysing effects of future floods. Their radical design work received top honours at the Australian Good Design Awards in 2017.