Zaha Hadid reveals trio of skyscrapers
for Brisbane's riverfront


News: Zaha Hadid Architects has designed three residential towers to sit on a riverfront site in Brisbane, Australia, as part of a AUS$420 million development (+ slideshow).

The Zaha Hadid-designed Toowong development will include three tapered towers containing 486 apartments and eight "villas".

Toowong development by Zaha Hadid Architects

"The design tapers each structure to minimise their footprint and open the riverfront to the public; creating a vibrant civic space for Toowong within a new riverside park," said Zaha Hadid in a statement.

According to the developer, each of the towers will have a multi-layered facade design with a glazed curtain wall overlaid with a pattern created from glass reinforced concrete.

Toowong development by Zaha Hadid Architects

This pattern emulates organic petal shapes, creating a non-uniform lattice that becomes sparser at it moves up the building, eventually creating a cage-like structure towards the top.

Located on a strip of land four kilometres to the west of Brisbane's Central Business District, the project will also include 7,300 square metres of public park space, says developer Sunland Group.

Toowong development by Zaha Hadid Architects

The site for the project was formerly occupied by the headquarters of Australia's ABC Radio network, who sold it in 2006 after 17 women who had worked there were diagnosed with breast cancer linked to high radiation levels. It was declared free of contamination in 2010.

Demolition of the old ABC buildings will begin this month ahead of a community consultation process for the plans.

Toowong development by Zaha Hadid Architects

One of Brisbane's oldest residential buildings – a listed single-storey house called Middenbury that was built in the 1860s – occupies part of the area and will be preserved as part of the new development.

  • Max

    Is this a joke?

    • Rafo

      No It isn’t. It’s a real project and will be constructed soon. Nice project.

  • Aaron Rooke

    It stands out quite a bit. The towers themselves don’t look too bad, but it seems out of place there.

  • kazabazua

    They look like three upside-down bottles of water.

  • Eynak East

    G’day she criers with three schooners in the skies, a tri-uplift, a Zaha gift, Brisbane lift, a Gold Coast shift to a high-end blend of the Hadid trend, probably offend the red-necks to no-necks, maybe design wrecks to their mind, their kind, they’ll say she’s architecturally blind, try n’ find an excuse to de-execute these three into the abyss and never be.

    • Rikaishi Rikashi

      Tim Minchin?

  • DL1119

    Office water dispensers x3.

  • Fred

    Looks like Zaha did a thorough character assessment. Two storey villas and then… Wham!

  • Jeroen van Lith

    They look like strangely refurbished 60s towers.

  • Zone Out

    This one really was dreamt up at the water cooler.

  • Will

    I think she should feel complimented by the fact we are disgusted with her spiralling architectural downfall.

  • dwf

    “The design tapers each structure to minimise their footprint and open the riverfront to the public; creating a vibrant civic space for Toowong within a new riverside park,” said Zaha Hadid in a statement. But the towers are sat on a huge podium?!

    • guisforyou


    • Check the third photo, there seems to be public ramp leading to the top of the podium.

    • Aaron Rooke

      The podium may be addressing the January 2011 floods.

  • ada

    In five years time people will think “who ever thought these were cool?” They are going to age very poorly indeed.

  • Donny

    Look behind these constructions. Nothing so high. I don’t care about ‘design’, these are just disgusting, dreadful, power architect, monstrosities. Sure, let’s make it obvious to the ‘poorer’ people behind, who have to see this every day. That money buys a view, not taste… MONEY!

  • sor perdida

    Quick! Her physician should put her on another medication.

  • guisforyou

    The towers don’t look that bad, but that atrium is hideous and completely out of context for this project.

    • amsam

      The hideous atrium is a different project. The “related story” – a dubious recent Dezeen innovation – is a hotel in Dubai that actually has a kind of great exterior.

  • Is it just me, or do the towers look like dropped missiles touch down?

  • Sul

    What ever happened to designing within “context” that our tutors so drummed into us when we were architecture students?

    • amsam

      It’s that your tutors were people who will never design anything of significance.

    • How on earth could a tower be contextual? Can anybody recall any good examples of a contextual tower? The more a designer forces an organic theme on a skyscraper, the more otherworldly it looks. High-rise construction is basically how human technology gave nature the finger.

  • amsam

    Normally I don’t find the archibabble to be of use, but I have to say when I read the description of “petal shapes” I looked again. Annnd… I do see the flowers. They’re kind of… pretty?

  • Matt

    “The design tapers each structure to minimise their footprint and open the riverfront to the public”. How does this work? The towers taper, but then end in a base even larger than the footprint of the tower above. I can’t see how this frees up any space at all.

  • scream

    Perhaps the clients forgot to mention that it should be functional.

  • helloooo

    Is it so difficult to notice that the podium top functions as a public park, with huge access ramps from ground level? The bottom tapering is pure genius on that perspective.

    • Matt

      The ‘park’ is not being facilitated by the tapering of the towers. Directly under the towers are some tiny bits of lawn sliced up by some footpaths – is that the genius you’re referring to?

  • Naimit

    I can’t stand all the never-beens who dare to criticise Hadid’s genius. Either come up with a better design for a trio of monstrous alien spores that will loom – Cthulhu-like – above their cowering and frightened neighbours, or shut up already. Geez.


    It’s such a CAMP design… and ugly.