The Surfers Riverside Masterplan established a shared vision for a high quality public space that connects Surfers Paradise and the Nerang River and encourages enjoyment of the uniquely Gold Coast waterways.

The Masterplan identified a need for an upgraded river edge treatment in Appel Park, requiring a design response to enhance it, including replacing the armour rock for protection against wave action. This provided an opportunity to redefine the edge of the river and to increase connectivity between the park and the river by improving pedestrian access to the water’s edge.

The built form was designed to be used in a variety of ways including as a platform to sit alongside the river, as steps down towards the water’s edge, as a barrier to prevent falls into the river and the functional purpose of protecting the embankment from damage caused by wave or tidal action. The new rivers edge was designed to take the eye to the water instead of detract from the river or impede the view.

The interlocking and staggered concrete blocks create aesthetic interest and seek to introduce colour to the river’s edge.  The selected colour reinforces the colour of the Poinciana flowers in the park and also helps to provide visual contrast and therefore improved safety along the river edge.

Further safety features included the staggering of the blocks to encourage interaction, yet stop people falling into the water, as well as identifying the oyster level and using that as a level to transition from the blocks to rock armour to discourage pedestrians from venturing to a level that would have oyster growth.

The built form created used a modular design and standard block sizes for ease of construction. The concrete blocks interlock with a pin connection to withstand water forces and movement.

This project shines a spotlight on the Nerang River so that the Gold Coast waterways become something that residents of the Gold Coast can use, understand, protect, respect, enhance and enjoy as much as the city’s beaches.

We’re thrilled to have received a special mention for our Surfers Riverside Edge Treatment project at the 2017 Gold Coast Urban Design Awards. The project was completed by GHD Woodhead.