This 37 storey residential tower is located above the eastern end of the existing Oasis shopping centre at Broadbeach on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The building is centred over the existing monorail turning circle and is directly linked to the monorail station at level 3 of the shopping centre. The residential tower contains 134 apartments, a gymnasium/health club and landscaped gardens incorporating swimming pools and a tennis court on the roof of the shopping centre.
AIR's rigorous structural articulation and revolutionary design techniques are certain to act as a catalyst for similarly bold projects in the future. "Our mantra is light, space, ventilation. Whilst this seems simple and basic, it has been overlooked in architecture for too long. When designing we always address these basics first. Air responds to the sun, the beach and its breezes.
The building has three distinct elements, a hovering two storey horizontal bar containing large two level penthouse apartments. This element provides a visual transition from the existing shopping centre podium to the tower above. The main building is composed of a large lozenge shaped tower to the east and a small rectangular satellite tower to the west.
The two are linked by the lift core, which passes through the centre of the monorail turning circle providing the structural spine of the building off which the satellite tower cantilevers. The shape of the eastern tower and the smaller western satellite serve to reduce the physical bulk of the building and allow for a number of different wall planes with differing articulation to be seen against each other. Strong shadow lines emphasise the physical separation of the 3 horizontal and vertical elements.
All elevations are distinct but linked by a common kit of parts, with materials and finishes reflecting the different aspects of each elevation, open to the east, closed to the west, shaded to the north. The east is the largest and most heavily articulated of the elevations.
The building is a sculpture in interior environment for the people who choose to live in Air. This means that the residents will be shaded from the heat in the summer yet warmed by the sun in winter, be able to open to open their doors and windows to allow cooling breezes through or choose to close them should the breeze strengthen.
This is a direct response to the desire to give all apartments access to views over the beach and the ocean, as well as producing a long slender tower only one apartment deep to allow for natural cross-ventilation. This east elevation is articulated by way of the horizontal balcony slabs and vertical blade walls between units.
As the unit size and configuration change so does the elevation. Two storey high units are clearly expressed as larger voids with mezzanine balconies. The balconies provide deep modelling to this façade, acting as sunshading to the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. The shadows created by this irregular grillage provide further texture and scale to the building.
The principal building is composed of a striking lozenge-shaped eastern tower and a small rectangular satellite tower on the western end - shapes which refine and minimise the development's physical volume.
Open to the east, closed to the west, shaded to the north, Air's environmentally intelligent design means both towers are each just one apartment deep. Superb natural cross ventilation is promoted through individually controlled external louvres and multi-stacking sliding doors that allow cool, deep balconies to be fully opened up to the living rooms. Summer heat is abrogated, winter sun is welcomed and artificial lighting can be kept to a minimum.
The beach, the Kurrawa Surf Club and the open space of the foreshore park are all immediately accessible to residents. As are the life enhancements of a heated lap pool, full size tennis court, private gymnasium, exclusive residents club lounge, landscaped gardens, an outdoor barbecue terrace and tranquil sundeck.
Air's living spaces are just that. Spacious. Unusually so, because ceiling levels are much higher than normal. The transforming power of proportion also means interiors are suffused with light, so that cool white backgrounds and elegantly restrained decoration palettes are heightened by the impact of pure vibrant colour. Proving that in the end, it's the tiny details that matter.