St Lucia Lakes Link

Design Feature
Project Type
Infrastructure
Location
Urban
State
QLD

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) St Lucia campus is the largest employment centre in Brisbane outside the CBD. It is also a peninsula. For much of its history, UQ has been defined by its vehicular approach, from the west, along Sir Fred Schonell Drive. For this reason, the St Lucia Lakes Link was introduced as a key piece in reorienting the approach to the university.

The St Lucia Lakes Link is an elevated walkway linking the UQ Lakes Busway Terminal and Ferry Terminal with the St Lucia campus. The site was officially opened to the public in August 2015. The project was introduced to provide a safe and convenient pedestrian gateway, with an estimated 40,000 trips to and from this entrance every day.

Rethinking the link

The project brief was to deliver appropriate infrastructure to facilitate safe access, for all, to one of UQ’s major entrances.

The finished design links a 35-metre elevated bridge to the St Lucia campus. The design includes more than 100 metres of on-ground and elevated walkway with viewing platforms, seating areas, lighting and shade structures, landscaping and concrete pathways. To minimise time on site, components including structural steel framing, roof panels and a lift were manufactured off-site.

The pathway upgrade was designed with consideration for weather events. This means the accessible area is no longer subject to minor flooding. Photographer: Christopher Frederick Jones
The pathway upgrade was designed with consideration for weather events. This means the accessible area is no longer subject to minor flooding. Photographer: Christopher Frederick Jones

“Our design encompasses a land bridge over a flood-prone gully and a series of canopied terraces enabling students to reach the Student Union from arrival via either the Eleanor Schonell Bridge or the UQ CityCat Terminal. The journey is articulated in a series of segmented parts accommodating disability ramp lengths and providing different outlooks over the campus’s green belt and lakes." (Cox Architecture, 2016, para. 2).

Surveys conducted found that the addition of the Eleanor Schonell Bridge has changed the demographic of surrounding suburbs. More UQ students and staff have moved to surrounding suburbs. Photographer: Christopher Frederick Jones
Surveys conducted found that the addition of the Eleanor Schonell Bridge has changed the demographic of surrounding suburbs. More UQ students and staff have moved to surrounding suburbs. Photographer: Christopher Frederick Jones

The design prioritises safe movement but also the joy of moving within UQ’s renowned campus. The introduction of the St Lucia Lakes Link makes the pedestrian and cycle movements the preferred choice for visitors. The eastern approach to the campus is now the dominant arrival point to UQ and the St Lucia Lakes Link has been recognised for a state award in the ‘urban design’ category by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

"The design is characterised by its moulding to the topography and by stepped canopies which allow views up into the campus as people climb, and down to the alumni forest and lakes as people descend. A layer of perforated screens enriches this experience." (Cox Architecture, 2016, para. 2).

To complement the project, the Brisbane City Council built a new CityCat terminal near the Eleanor Schonell Bridge and contributed $750,000 to assist in addressing disability access issues in the area.

"For a modest budget, the project has converted a previously arduous and often sodden goat track into a journey traversed effortlessly by students by bus, cycle, ferry and on foot.” (Cox Architecture, 2016, para. 2).

Project Team

  • Client: The University of Queensland
  • Sponsor: Brisbane City Council and The University of Queensland
  • Design: Cox Architecture
  • Contractor / Builder: FKG Group
  • Key Consultants: Eric Martin & Associates, Webb Australia Group, BRW Enterprises, JFP Urban Consultants, Norman Disney & Young, Dot Dash, icubed consulting

Project Cost

$5.3 Million

You might also like