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 The Brisbane river now benefits from flood resilient ferry terminals

Goingwith the flow I

f there had been any doubt about the immense power and devastating effects of flood waters before the Brisbane River burst its banks five years ago, it certainly became very clear to the city residents when the river rose bymore than

ametre and cut off crucial transport links. To prevent such disruption in the future, Brisbane

City Council upgraded its all-important ferry terminals to ride the floods and go with the flow.

MOVING ARCHITECTURE To ensure an appropriate solution to the flooding problemwas reached, Brisbane council launched a design competition for flood resistant, accessible ferry terminals. Cox Rayner Architects and engineering company Aurecon beat 65 other entries fromaround the world to create ferry terminals that went beyond the ability to balance themselves against normal tidal currents and withstand abnormal flooding. The answer was a buoyant terminal pontoon

attached to the shore using a bridge deck that uses buoyancy to automatically detach in a flood. It swings behind the pontoon and remains anchored to it to prevent it frombeing swept downstreamand to keep it out of the path of debris. Aurecon and Cox Rayner were faced with the

challenge not only of achieving flood resilience and accessibility formobility aid users, but also the delivery of amodern, ambitious and elegant architectural design in amaritime environment that eliminated the traditional array of pontoon guide piles. According to Aurecon, it was thisminimisation of

Jonathan Newell discovers how flexibility in architectural design is securing the transport infrastructure of Australia’s River City

the pontoon’s support structure that was one of the design attributes that helped achieve the required flood resilience. Rather than pontoon guide piles, Aurecon used a single upstreampier with the gangway acting as a radial arm. This pier also absorbs energy and deflects heavy

objects during a flood to prevent damage. Additionally, the pontoon takes its design cues from the hull of a boat which reduces negative lift on its leading edge and therefore similarly reduces drag forces during floods.

COLLABORATIVE DESIGN The design objectives set by Brisbane council were met using a collaborative approach utilising skills at Cox Rayner and Aurecon inmaritime engineering, mechanical engineering, structural engineering and architecture. Aurecon asserts that the level of innovation achieved in the project could not have been realised without such deep collaboration between these disciplines. The single sculpted pier and radial armgangway

is a highly innovative approach to river terminal design, which provides all the lateral support necessary for the pontoon, without the need for guide piles. The whole structure is protected from damage due to floating debris during floods using an upstreamfender to deflect objects thatmay cause damage. Simultaneously the pontoon’s downstream mooring point changes function to provide lateral restraint to the pontoon in a flood or post-flood situation, when not anchored to the shore. All of this was achieved without losing sight of the basic functional requirements of a ferry terminal

December 2016 /// Environmental Engineering /// 13

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