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Tunnel with tendrils: Grand Arbour, Brisbane, Australia by Denton Corker Marshall.

Photos: Christopher C. Hill.

The Brisbane Southbank is a cultural highpoint, not just for the city, but for Queensland and Australia.

A former industrial area of the city, located along the south bank of the Brisbane River, has been transformed over the last couple of decades with a string of superb arts and cultural institutions, many housed in fine quality buildings. Institutions of this quality and quantity are seldom found in far larger cities around the world.

However, to some degree, the Sounthbank lacked cohesion. The subject of a competition to address this concern, the Melbourne practice of Denton Corker Marshall conceived the Southbank Grand Arbour. It unified the gardens and landscaping along the river, and provided a shady route for people to enjoy the climate - full of flowers and colour.

The Arbour is effectively two trellis walls that curve over at the top to partially enclose a walkway. This route weaves along the river bank connecting river crossings, and providing a beautiful shady circulation spine off which are other gardens, restaurants, leisure and cultural facilities.

The structure itself is composed of galvanized steel posts that taper and curve as they rise, resembling giant plant tendrils. Between the tendrils are stainless steel wires that act as the trellis, and up which the plants are trained to grow.

Christopher C. Hill.

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