Speculator Exhibition, Queensland, Australia

Project Description

The possibilities and potential for how the Cultural Precinct could redefine the Gold Coast will be speculated at a public art exhibition by Bond University architecture students in collaboration with CRAB Studio, London at the Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise from this Thursday, August 9.


Bond University final year architectural studies students, guided by Gavin Robotham and Mark Bagguley from CRAB Studio based in London – the architects of the University’s new Soheil Abedian School of Architecture building – will showcase their semester’s work that considers possible future transformations for the Evandale Parklands to become the cultural heartland of the Gold Coast.


Internationally acclaimed for their architectural expertise and contributions to defining the identity of cities around the world, the team at CRAB Studio have also created their own exhibition piece, the ‘wrap’ to inspire a wider appreciation that architecture can be the catalyst for transformation. CRAB’s ‘wrap’ essentially encloses the existing buildings within the precinct in a fluid meandering of curved walls and intimate spaces that provoke the notion architecture can be beautifully creative, yet innovatively functional that is non-conforming and all defining, an iconic symbol embracing culture resting in a crafted landscape.


Gavin Robotham from CRAB Studio said, “The similarities to the University’s Soheil Abedian School of Architecture building currently under construction are exciting.  This exhibition will be the first time the concepts incorporated in the new building will be publicly viewed.”

The students’ diverse interpretations and ‘speculations’ are represented by sketch models which are suspended from the ‘Armature’, an installation that defines an abstract of the landscape around the Evandale lake.


Head of School, Professor Philip Follent said this exhibition was a culmination of the semester’s learnings and mentoring from the team at CRAB and truly was an exceptional opportunity for the students to be exposed to international design perspectives.


“Gavin and Mark have been teaching our Bond University architecture students for the past 12 weeks, sharing their global perspectives and knowledge from their teaching days at Bartlett and Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA). The students have learnt 3D modelling, worked with a Computerised Numeric Cutter (CNC) router and been able apply their design work by constructing large scale models,” said Professor Follent.


“A city is anchored by its cultural identity; a city with a cultural pulse is a mature city.  The Cultural Precinct is a necessity for the evolution of the Gold Coast; through this exhibition our Bond architecture students are contributing to the possibility of what that evolution may look like,” said Professor Follent.

“As Australia’s newest, design focussed, school of architecture, the Soheil Abedian School of Architecture is already making its mark academically and in its own right is creating an iconic, landmark building worthy of international profile.


“Bond honours the role that universities ought to play in the cultural enrichment of their community through research, speculation and challenging the status quo. The Soheil Abedian School of Architecture is privileged to have small class sizes, enthusiastic, experienced staff complemented by international visiting studio leaders, and an ethos of ‘learning through making’. The School is able to engage nimbly, enthusiastically and usefully outside its university walls,” he said.

Coordinated in partnership with the Gold Coast Art Gallery and Gold Coast City Council, Speculator is a free public exhibition that will run from Aug 10-18 at the Hilton Hotel Arcade, Surfers Paradise. The official opening is at 6pm, Aug 9 will be attended by Soheil Abedian and Mayor Tom Tate.

The community will have the opportunity to view the new Soheil Abedian School of Architecture building, tour the architecture studios and talk to the architecture students and academics at Bond University’s Open Day, August 19.




Location: Hilton Hotel Arcade, Surfers Paradise, QLD Australia

Budget: TBC

Status: completed

Design team: Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham, Mark Bagguley, Lorene Faure, Chris Knapp, students from design studio 05, Soheil Abedian School of Architecture Bond University



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