De­sign­ing for trop­i­cal spa­ces

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page - BIANCA KEE­GAN

GER­MAN-born ar­chi­tect Gisela Jung is one of the brains be­hind the city’s most iconic build­ing de­signs.

The pow­er­house ar­chi­tect has had a hand in re­de­vel­op­ing Port­smith’s Ma­rina Point, de­sign­ing Wil­liam McCor­mack build­ing on Sheri­dan St and is now work­ing on the new Cairns Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre at Munro Martin Park and the $400 mil­lion Nova8 tower pro­ject in Spence St.

“I’ve al­ways been a trav­eller and al­ways wanted to do some­thing in the field of de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture,’’ she said.

Fol­low­ing her move to Syd­ney in 2001, Ms Jung was drawn to the trop­ics two years later to work for CA Ar­chi­tects.

“I love cities and ur­ban spa­ces,’’ she said.

“In the con­text of ar­chi­tec­ture, I have more in­ter­est in the spa­ces that sur­round the build­ings and the in­ter­faces be­tween build­ings.

“The big chal­lenge is to make sure those spa­ces are well used as well.”

The nine-storey Wil­liam McCor­mack Place was the first six-star rated “green” build­ing in the trop­ics.

“There is an open foyer where we wanted to in­vite the public so it’s not just a strange gov­ern­ment build­ing,’’ she said.

As for Ma­rina Point, ar­chi­tects had to work around an old fig tree and the her­itage­listed ware­houses.

“The wharf (Ma­rina Point), when we started we al­ready had the per­fect lo­ca­tion,” Ms Jung said.

“I think it’s the best spot in Cairns.

“We wanted to in­te­grate (the history) into the story – the old wharf fea­tures, old stumps in the wa­ter, there was an orig­i­nal plan where the broad­walk would con­tinue up to the wharf.

“We tried to work with what was there be­fore and made a lot of con­scious de­ci­sions to not de­stroy too much.”

Ex­ist­ing tim­ber was cut up and reused, while for­mer deck­ing from the site was built into new view­ing struc­tures.

“Ev­ery­thing we found on­site we tried to use on-site,” Ms Jung said. “The old path­way we cut up and scat­tered around the bar­be­cue shel­ters.”

Ms Jung spoke at this week’s Women and De­sign in the Trop­ics seminar or­gan­ised through the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects FNQ Re­gional Mem­bers Com­mit­tee and The Cairns In­sti­tute JCU.

“Prob­a­bly 50 per cent of stu­dents who start in ar­chi­tec­ture at univer­sity are fe­male, and you look around now and it’s only one fe­male per con­ver­sa­tion ta­ble,’’ Ms Jung said.

“You go down to about 10 to 20 per cent fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

Ms Jung said women in the de­sign sec­tor of­fered “another per­spec­tive”.

“I am work­ing on Nova8 and that will prob­a­bly change the skyline of Cairns quite a bit,” she said. “It’s ex­cit­ing to be work­ing on quite a large pro­ject.”

I have more in­ter­est in the spa­ces that sur­round the build­ings and the in­ter­faces be­tween build­ings Gisela Jung

Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

CRE­ATIVE DE­SIGNS: Ar­chi­tect Gisela Jung at Ma­rina Point, which she helped to de­sign. She is now look­ing for­ward to work­ing on the new Cairns Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre.

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