Work begins on capital’s face-changing venue

A vast new events space is taking shape on Brisbane’s riverfront.

The $200 million Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment, described by Queensland tourism minister Kate Jones  as a “key project” which will “change the face of our city forever”, sees work begin on its Howard’s Hall venue this month.

Designed by architects Woods Bagot, the 1100m2 space will boast uninterrupted riverfront views of the Story Bridge and city skyline.

The build is due for completion in November.

Howard’s Hall will accommodate private and public events from conferences, meetings, pop-up events and product launches to exhibitions, concerts and weddings.

It already has more than 700 events events booked through until 2022 and at peak times will employ some 350 staff on a daily basis.

 “This is going to become one of the city’s most memorable spaces, set against one of its most heroic views,” says Woods Bagot’s build director Mark Damant.

“The panorama it offers is absolutely incredible: The arches of Story Bridge, looking back at the city, across to Kangaroo Point and down the New Farm reach of the Brisbane River.”

Another key component of the Howard’s Wharf precinct includes a new five-star hotel developed by the Deague Group, creator of the Art Series Hotels. The SJB-designed 164-room boutique hotel will open in March 2019.

Less than ten percent of the buildings at Howard Smith Wharves are new. The majority are repurposed heritage spaces which the new buildings have been designed to blend in with.

Howard’s Hall is intended to tap into the “industrial language” of neighbouring building with its exposed steel frame, a shed-like saw tooth roof, and walls that reform according to the user’s intent.

Adam Flaskas, director of Howard Smith Wharves, says the hall’s opening will play a major part in revitalising the precinct.

“Everything about this space taps into our ethos. It combines a down-to-earth optimism with a take on luxury that relishes in simple things done exceptionally, from the beauty of architecture and natural surrounds to good food, wine and community.

“This new lifestyle, dining and tourism destination will reactivate 3.4 hectares of Brisbane’s picturesque riverside, and Howard’s Hall is an integral part of that vision.”

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says it will showcase the area’s history and unlock the potential of the “underutilised” riverfront site.

“Once complete, Howard Smith Wharves will become a vibrant leisure destination with public parkland, riverside dining and an exciting mix of entertainment and cultural experiences that will enhance Brisbane’s status as a New World City,” he said.

More than 80 per cent of the site has been allocated as public space, including activated open spaces and a $17 million landscaping budge.

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