The Queensland government has opened the $176-million expansion to Cairns Convention Centre, designed by Cox Architecture and CA Architects.
The 10,500 square metre expansion follows major refurbishment works to the original centre in 2021.
The new expanded centre accommodates a 410-seat function room, three 120-seat meeting rooms, exhibition space for 30 booths, a new entry, and a large, generously planted porte cochere.
The expansion has been designed to enhance the original 1990s convention centre, also by Cox Architecture.
“The original building components are largely internalized spaces. They are driven by blackout capacity and light and sound control,” said project director Richard Coulson. “The new expansion really was more about engaging externally while maintaining the expectation of a world class convention facility.”
Located at the edge of a creek with views towards a nearby mountain range, the building has been “orchestrated” to play with the natural features of the landscape. “The design for the Convention Centre was a chance to embrace the water again and to make the water edge a people’s place,” Coulson said.
A 500-seat banquet space on the top level looks out to the creek and mountains. “A Traditional Owner explained to me that the mountain ranges form Guyala [pronounced goo-ya-la], the White Breasted Sea Eagle. It’s a fantastic creation story from the local community. To know that the silhouette of that spectacular skyline and this special place will now be shared with many because of the strategies in this project is very rewarding.”
The external facade, which features more than 1,000 glass-reinforced concrete sunshades, has been inspired by the colours of the rainforest and region. The fins provide relief from the tropical sun, while also allowing views out.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “The new-look Cairns Convention Centre is a fitting addition to Queensland’s Far North tourism mecca, which will undoubtedly attract world-class events to the region.”
Source: Architecture - architectureau