20 Sep 2017

Brisbane Water fountain design competition announced for Brisbane River and King George Square

DESIGNERS who want to make a splash have their chance with a competition to dream up water features for two Brisbane landmarks.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced on Wednesday he was looking for “world class designs” for water features in King George Square and the Brisbane River.

“We’re looking for creative minds that will put together something that will be of benefit to this city (and) reflect this city,” he said.

He said $6.6 million was allocated for the two projects with $1.3 million for King George Square, $3.3 million for the Brisbane River and the change for detailed design work needed for the “tricky” locations.

The Brisbane River fountain will be named after Daphne Mayo, a prolific Brisbane artist, and be installed near the Victoria Bridge.

Councillor Quirk recalled the drought that forced the closure of many Brisbane fountains and said, like other recently opened features, the new ones would use recycled water.

“The sustainability of those fountains is an important feature of the competition,” he said.

The other criteria includes constructability, innovation, safety, and adherence to a predetermined delivery time frame.

Opposition leader Peter Cumming said he had “real concerns” about the viability of the river fountain.

The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Fountain, Brisbane’s last river-based fountain, was scuttled in 1985 after it sank and malfunctioned constantly during its seven years in operation.

“I think it’s opening up a can of worms,” he said.

He gave lukewarm support to a King George Square water feature but said Cr Quirk’s plan was “somewhat excessive”.

“We would support a modest fountain to bring some life back to King George Square, rather than being a place where young people face severe burning if they touch the surface in summer,”

“It’s as hot as hell and it needs to be cooled down.”

The Lord Mayor said there would always be those few who believe the city does not need water fountains but that water features added to the “vitality and the life of the city”.

Councillor Quirk announced funding for the two fountains in February 2016 and promised Daphne Mayo fountain, which had been designed, would be completed by the end of the year.

A council spokeswoman said the fountain was delayed because the council needed to undertake further investigations to ensure the viability of the plan.

She said the large number of stakeholders in the Brisbane River was also a factor in the delay.

Expressions of interest for the competition are now open and can be submitted via the Brisbane City Council website.


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