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October 2015

Mariner’s Cove to integrate two 38-storey residential towers and public cultural centre in Queensland.

At the highest levels of contemporary commercial architecture, mixed-use seems almost a requirement. That usually means residences, offices, and retail, but it can also be on a grander scale combining residence, retail, hotel, conference centre, and cultural destinations. On Australia’s Gold Coast Mariner’s Cove from Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) includes two 38-storey residential towers, a museum, an aquarium, and an art gallery “within an ambitious architectural scheme,” according to the project proposal.  Designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher, Mariner’s Cove redefines the concept of residential developments into a built work of art.

 Residential towers

 The towers are close to the waterfront and appear similar as they curve up but differ in structure. One tower has six petals or structural sections while the other has four. Their distinctive silhouettes allow for expansive water and skyline views from the apartments. The four-petal tower offers the most luxurious living with 360-degree views. The higher floors of the six-petal tower have similar large units and unlimited views. However, the first seven floors are reserved for a boutique hotel.

“Each residential tower is designed as if it were an organic, living form, with sinuous lines interlacing upwards from a tapered base, creating a sense of flow and movement,” said Dr. Sahba Abedian, Managing Director of Sunland Group, the developer of Mariner’s Cove. “This vibrancy is further brought to life by the reflection and interaction of the glass facade with its stunning setting.”

A Privately-owned cultural precinct

Sunland bought the land in 2013 and commissioned ZHA for the designs. “This project will fuse residential, commercial, retail, a hotel and serviced apartments and marry them together with a strong cultural presence,” said Abedian.  In the words of Zaha Hadid, “In Mariner’s Cove, a public cultural programme of museum, art gallery, aquarium and shopping/dining will ensure the development is integrated within – and a part of – the Gold Coast’s civic realm.”

The towers emerge from a curved podium housing retail, food & beverage, and a conference centre. The ground level is a continuous public space, and a plaza and waterfront promenade open towards the water to create an accessible deck level. The art gallery and museum amid sculptural gardens overlooking the water make this project unique. The underground aquarium, organically integrated in the landscape and plaza layout, completes the master plan. On the ground, “the towers merge seamlessly with public spaces dedicated to culture and the arts,” said Abedian.

Working with the client

Like any ambitious development Mariner’s Cove is the result of close cooperation between client and architect. “At the start of each project, we always work with the client to interpret the true purpose of a project; as it is not only the form of a building that interests us – but we also research new and better ways in which people can use a building.” The goal is “allowing the architecture, city and landscape to seamlessly combine,” says Hadid. “Each of our projects is the very specific result of how the context, local culture, programmatic requirements, and innovative engineering come together . . . Every design creates new spaces where concepts of seamless spatial flow are made real – to create a whole new kind of civic space for the city.”

The first step is “to investigate and research the landscape, topography and circulation of the site,” explains Hadid. Next is to “draw lines of connections with the local environment and lines of circulation that become evident from these investigations, and bring these lines into the site – using them to inform our new design.” As a result, “each project has the strongest possible relationship with its unique environment.”

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