This Masters design studio at the University of Queensland School of Architecture (semester 1, 2016) was run by Janina Gosseye and explored the relationship between architecture, commercial development and global consumer culture through the design of a shopping centre. Using the former skate arena in Red Hill (in inner suburb of Brisbane) as a site, the studio aimed to increase awareness of the multiplicity of actors that are generally involved in commercial design.

The Red Hill Skate Arena in Brisbane is a heritage-listed building located on a steeply sloping site along one of the main arterial roads into the city (Musgrave Road). It first opened circa 1920 as the Red Hill Picture Pops Theatre, and functioned as a theatre until around 1964 when new owners converted the building into a ‘sound lounge’ known as ‘Teen City’. Some of Australia’s most popular rock and roll stars including Little Pattie, Col Joy and the BeeGees performed here. This use did, however, not last long. In 1965 the building was converted again for use as the Red Hill Skate Arena, which became one of the most popular and well-known skating rinks in Brisbane. It remained open until 2004 when most of the building was destroyed in an arson attack.

The studio prompted students to reflect on the role of the architect when engaged in ‘architecture for commerce’, and also sharpen students’ ability to develop design strategies that can mediate between a complex (and at times diverging) set of demands commonly imposed on sites in ‘dense’ inner city contexts. Students were asked to develop a design that would ensure that the skate arena could function as both a centre for the local community and a shopping centre for the broader (Brisbane) community. They were asked to weigh economic rewards against social rewards, and carefully consider the potential harmful impact (in terms of traffic and noise) on the surrounding residential area (to the south), while ensuring that the shopping centre would be a commercial success.

Red Hill Arcades
Students: Yue Ren Law & Chong Kim