Design comp seeks to revitalise CBD

Pegrum Judd director Elisabeth Judd is hoping a new architectural design ideas competition for the Queanbeyan CBD will reframe the way people see the city.

Pegrum Judd director Elisabeth Judd is hoping a new architectural design ideas competition for the Queanbeyan CBD will reframe the way people see the city.

AN ambitious new design ideas competition is seeking to completely reimagine the look and feel of the Queanbeyan CBD.

The Downtown Q 2025 competition will be launched next week by the Queanbeyan Business Chamber and is inviting skilled planners, architects, landscape architects, designers and design students to compete for significant prize money in an attempt to re-invent the town's main street and surrounding city blocks.

Open to both Australian and international design professionals, the competition will be run by architect and former head of the National Capital Authority, Annabelle Pegrum of Canberra firm Pegrum Judd, and be judged by a panel of seven architectural and business professionals, with renowned Australian architect John Wardle as chair.

Ms Pegrum said the competition was aimed at seeking "new and visionary ideas" to reinvigorate Queanbeyan's existing commercial and public areas.

"Imagine a CBD truly connected to the river, mixed use development with a character that reflects Queanbeyan's regional qualities, great housing to attract new and creative business and vital public spaces linked to a thriving main street that is an inviting 'front door' - not a drive through - to Downtown Q," she said.

Her partner at Pegrum Judd, Elisabeth Judd, said the town lent itself to more vibrant, connected spaces that were attractive for businesses and residents alike.

"What's become apparent with being involved in this competition is the incredible potential that there is in Queanbeyan," she said.

"There's not that many opportunities to totally reimagine the central business district for a city, and that's what we're talking about- reimagining the future for Queanbeyan."

Full design criteria will be released at next week's launch, and entrants will be required to provide a design for the specified Downtown Q area, and potentially the two gateways to the city and interface to the Queanbeyan River.

The initiative for a design ideas competition has been driven by the Queanbeyan Business Chamber, and Chamber vice president Steve Bartlett said he hoped the ideas to come out of the competition would ultimately boost the vibrancy and commercial viability of the CBD.

"I'm hoping that we get a really exciting plan for downtown on a human scale that's attractive to people so it becomes a social and economic centre for the region," he said.

"In town planning terms, it's an unbelievably exciting opportunity. There is not much development in the town, so there's not much there that needs to be undone. It's like a blank canvas for a town planner.

"So there's a real opportunity to make a really beautiful, people-friendly downtown precinct, and town planners are very excited about it."

- Registration for Downtown Q 2025 will open next week with winners to be announced in November. Further information on Downtown Q 2025 can be found at www.downtownqcompetition.com.au.

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