Gold Coast Open House is a must-see on the calendar for architects and lovers of design alike. In its fifth year, the event gives attendees a look inside some of the most interesting and architecturally noteworthy structures on the Gold Coast.


It is an opportunity to see buildings, locations and areas, many which you would not normally be able to visit. The program covers a snapshot of the progression of architecture on the Gold Coast. Visitors learn more about the city through the development of architecture and design over the years and provides an insight into future trends.


Here are some of the highlights from the places we visited during the Gold Coast Open House 2019.


smith collective gold coast

Smith Collective: Parklands Village


The Smith Collective was designed as the Athletes accommodation village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It is an interesting example of the build-to-rent development model which is common in America but rare in Australia.


Residential developers in Australia typically aim to sell their product as soon as they can to repay borrowings and realise a profit. The build-to-rent model takes the opposite approach. In this model, the developer, typically being a property fund or financier, is looking for a long-term property investment.


Without this model being adopted, the project would have been unviable. Built across 29.4 hectares, it was accommodation for 6500 Commonwealth Games athletes and team officials. Once the games were finished, the sales process was predicted to be a long one. The number of units to be sold after the Games being equivalent to about 10 years typical unit supply for the entire Gold Coast market.


The Smith Collective was the biggest urban renewal project on the Gold Coast, set amongst lush parklands. The bright colours a reminder of the vibrance of the Commonwealth Games and diversity of the countries attending. The legacy of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games continues to live on in this award-winning development.

Smith Collective: Parklands Village is located at 1 Village Boulevard, Southport.

envi micro village gold coast

ENVI Micro Village


Specifically aimed at millennials or first home buyers, the ENVI Micro Urban Village is an interesting example of high density living and the use of flexible multipurpose spaces.


Different internal layouts within similar 40m2 footprints were customised to suit the specific requirements of the owners. The concept is based around developing inwards, rather than up or out. ENVI’s high density design solution creates 10 detached homes on a single house block. By maintaining a narrow separation between buildings, an added benefit is achieved in eliminating the need for a body corporate, and the associated fees. These can add to the financial burden of those entering the housing market for the first time.


The first of its kind on the Gold Coast, ENVI are the first urban freehold lots to be approved in this smaller size.


ENVI is appealing to those who want to be in the midst of the action, rather than in the more affordable outer suburban areas. ENVI offers an alternative right in the CBD of Southport. These tiny houses are ideally suited to very tidy singles, or couples without a large accumulation of “stuff”!


ENVI is located at 20 Lenneberg Street, Southport.


alta apartments gold coast

Alta Apartments


A “mini” horizontal high-rise alternative to the traditional vertical duplex or townhouse attached dwellings common in Main Beach.


The apartment on display was owned by the Architect developers, resulting in a standard of finish which was very high. It allowed them the freedom to explore certain design ideas that most developers would have vetoed based on cost.


The three-storey, 6 apartment building features cantilevered north facing balconies, making the most of the location. In addition, side courtyard balconies and bathrooms for every bedroom are standard in all of the three and four bedroom apartments.


Each apartment is accessed via the central main entry foyer with lift access to the upper levels. The glazed full height lobby void allows natural light to flood the interior, with external adjustable sunscreen blades regulating shading as the sun moves throughout the day.


Alta Apartments are located at 50 Woodroffe Avenue, Main Beach


fire station surfers paradise

Surfers Paradise Fire Station


Most young boys go through a stage of aspiring to be fireman when they grow up. Having the opportunity to explore the inner sanctum of a fire station provided a rare insight into the reality of a fireman’s life beyond rushing to fight fires in their big red trucks.


The majority of a firemen’s work shift may not actually result in a callout to a fire, so recreation facilities makeup a large proportion of the station. These include a TV lounge, games room, gymnasium and large kitchen dining area.


And the firemen’s poles are still used as the quickest means of getting to the trucks from the upstairs living areas.


Interestingly, the first fire station was located in the heart of Surfers Paradise. It was built in 1942 as a wartime measure in the event the Jubilee Bridge was bombed. Thankfully this did not happen.


As development increased after the war, a new station opened in Broadbeach in 1964 and operated until its closure in 2002. The current state-of-the-art station replaced this building and forms part of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services South Eastern Region.


Surfers Paradise Fire Station is located at 2792 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach.


kieth williams house gold coast

Keith Williams House


Keith Williams was one of the original members of Gold Coast’s renown “white shoe brigade”. He played a significant role in the development of the post war Gold Coast, establishing Sea World, an extension of his popular main river ski show that he started in the 50’s. He then went on to create Hamilton Island Resort.


These ventures contributed to him becoming one of the wealthiest developers on the Gold Coast. This is reflected in the craftsmanship and quality of the finishes used in his own riverfront home.


Built in 1984 and covering three-storey’s, the rendered brick mansion has a commanding entrance, marble flooring and grand staircases. A formal living space, billiards room and eight-seat cinema feature on the ground floor.


Whilst the architectural style may be dated, the interiors are still impressive, and the current owners have taken great care in restoring certain elements to their original grandeur and preserving the home’s design integrity.


Keith Williams House is located at 113 Commodore Drive, Paradise Waters.



Bond University Abedian School of Architecture inside

Bond University Abedian School of Architecture


Designed by an international Architectural practice for the Architect Developer benefactor as the home for the Gold Coast’s first architectural school, this building was always going to be special.


Gone are the outdated lecture theatres of the traditional Universities of the past. In its place are smaller, less-formal spaces, meeting areas and workshop studios. The organic form, both internally and externally, offers numerous visual surprises as you wander through the various spaces over multiple levels.


Spiral staircases, a floating mezzanine and an ‘internal’ street are included in the design. The open-plan environment encourages collaboration for architecture students. Theory comes to life in this building. The bold, ultra-modern design combines practicality with vision. Architecture students are surrounded by inspiration – boosting creativity and innovation.


Bond University Abedian School of Architecture is located at 14 University Drive, Robina.



cantala cottage gold coast

Cantala Cottage


With few of the beach shacks which once were typical for Gold Coast architect remaining, this architect is transforming the way they are used.


Cantala Cottage was designed for a local builder and his young family. The open nature of the building addresses the public street, promoting interaction with neighbours. This is in contrast with most new homes that do the opposite – building large fence barriers to hide behind.


The earthy material palette reflects the era when the original home was constructed and evokes casual beach house holiday living.


Natural lighting and ventilation throughout the residence is enhanced with all internal rooms having access to small, landscaped courtyard or external spaces.


Materials, details and colours used draw reference from the original timber home in its new interpretation.


Cantala Cottage is located at 7 Cantala Avenue, Miami.


albinion duplex gold coast

Albion Duplex


Another renovation designed by an Architect for a builder developer client.


The existing property contained two small single-level detached houses, the renovation adding an extra floor level to both.


Rather than maximising the allowable floor area by enclosing the entire upper floor levels with rooms, large voids were incorporated to maximise access to natural light and ventilation into the centre of the ground floor spaces.


The design pays respect to the brick dwelling that stood on the site by reinterpreting and giving a fresh take on the traditional gable home. Structure, materials and detailing, along with internal living qualities are continued with a concept of lightness throughout.


Albion Duplex is located at 20 Albion Avenue, Miami


For more images of these and other places we visited during this year’s Gold Coast Open House you can view our video slide show


Or if you’d like more information about all of the buildings that were on display during the Gold Coast Open House 2019 visit


You might also be interested in: Gold Coast Architecture – 20th Century to Today


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