Brisbane Ferry Terminals

Brisbane, Queensland

After Brisbane’s CityCat Terminals capsized in the 2011 flood, the Queensland Government held a competition to see if a more resilient solution could be found.

Teaming with Aurecon and Brisbane City Council, we observed and simulated the impacts – accumulation of debris against the gangways as they submerged, and debris trapped in the ribbon of piles or against the pontoon’s flat leading edge. Had the flood risen a metre higher, the pontoons would have simply floated away.

Three main remedies were devised: one, fitting the gangways with air tanks, a hinge and a clasp enabling them to float and swivel around under the flood’s force; two, a single pier tall enough to prevent the pontoons floating off and robust enough to withstand large vessel impacts; three, shaping the pontoon like a boat to deflect debris around.

Simultaneously, the terminals were designed to enhance the experience of river travel and of public engagement with the river to meet with Council’s values of full accessibility and its aspiration as a New World City. Removing the multiple piles opened the river to unimpeded view, a canopy provided shelter, and ramping on the pontoon guided movement and offered varied places to relax.

Each terminal is characterised by its particular connection with the land and its neighbouring community.

  • Awards
  • Technical Information
  • Cox Team

Brunel Medal for Excellence, Institution for Civil Engineers (United Kingdom)  2017

Good Design Award of the Year – Flood Resilient and Accessible Ferry Terminals for Brisbane (Cox Architecture in association with Aurecon) 2017

Commendation for Urban Design, Delivered Outcome – Small Scale, Australian Urban Design Awards 2016

RW Hawken Overall Project Award, AEEA QLD 2016

Project Infrastructure Excellence Award, AEEA QLD 2016

Innovation, Research and Development Excellence Award, AEEA QLD 2016

Public Architecture Award, AIA QLD 2016

Civic Landscape Award of Excellence, AILA QLD 2016 (Lat27)

Good Design® Selection, Good Design Awards 2016

Gold Award for Design Innovation, Consult Australia Awards for Excellence 2015 (Aurecon)

Future Projects Award, World Architecture Festival 2013

In association with
Brisbane City Council
Project Status
Completed, 2011-2015
Key Consultants
Lat27, RLB
Contractor / Builder
McConnell Dowell