Designing for tropical spaces
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
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.