“Culture adds colour and fulfilment to our lives and a cultural precinct is designed to offer a diverse range of cultural experiences” – GCCC
The site: The Gold Coast Arts Centre and Evandale Parklands
The desire: To create a hub which festers the cultural spirit of the city
The council desires (as extracted from this website) for the site to incorporate a range of activities which will cater for all demographics. A theatre, gallery, museum, cinema, library, as well as spaces for group activity’s are required.
The question I pose however, relates to the validity of such a scheme, in terms of its viability and ability to draw the elusive crowds. A consistent audience will gage the success of the master scheme. Essentially the answer lies in the following query:
will a “gold coaster”, tourist or resident alike, desire to detour from their regular activities to partake and visit the cultural precinct.
If the answer is “no“, then we need to pinpoint exactly why they are deterred and as designers create solutions which attract.
If the answer is “yes” then the precinct is a success, we must strive to maintain the relevance of the opportunities which the site delivers.
Or a third solution may be offered. Namely the Gold Coast at present “does not require” a mandated cultural site. Should smaller, less ambitious projects be carried along the expanse of the coast? A direct shot of “culture” in designated suburbs. A small scale approach to a big problem to act as a catalyst and inspire a cultural revolution.
architecture as an answer?
Attraction within the community, the magnetic pull, the ‘Bilbao Effect’
Would a Gehry designed masterpiece of folded steel draw the crowds and inspire a cultural revolution? As a local I am sceptical because I feel the location of the site impends the flow of traffic. Cars seem to be the only efficient way to get to the site at present. A site which is 60% + carparking, reached by congested Smith Street most definitely deters many.
I think the answer relies in a clever redesign. The area needs to be attractive but relaxed, a trait which is common to much of the Gold Coast. Culture is hard to force but easy to foster. By that I mean that often culture is initially a natural development, it cannot be faked, but it can be fostered by infrastructure which inspires. I am not sure how this will be achieved but I am glad that the Gold Coast City Council is considering the arts and cultural side of this sunburnt city.