Historic Win For Toowoomba As Building Design Rated Best In Queensland

22nd July 2016

In a first for the Garden City, Toowoomba’s Quest Apartments designed and constructed by FKG Group has won the top building design award for Queensland, giving the team a shot at the national title.

At its latest annual awards event in Brisbane, industry body the Building Designers Association Queensland (BDAQ) named FKG Group’s design and construct (D&C) team winners in two categories for the apartment building incorporating a century-old church located at 133 Margaret St, Toowoomba:

  • 2016 BDAQ Best Commercial Building Over $5 Million
  • 2016 BDAQ Building Design Premier Award

FKG Group Executive Chairman, Gary Gardner, said the awards were a tribute to the quality of building design available in Toowoomba and the D&C team’s dedication in preserving the historic church for the city.

“Winning the Premier Award for this Toowoomba project testifies to the excellence of our local team of designers and their commitment in achieving outstanding results for their clients,” Mr Gardner said.

“Notably, this is the first time since 2005 a commercial building has won this highly competitive industry award and the first time it has been won by a South West BDAQ branch member or Toowoomba designer, making it an historic occasion for FKG Group and our region.”

The building’s design incorporated the Church of Christ with an 8-storey hotel apartment building, including two car-parking levels, which required careful consideration to preserve the church’s heritage façade. Design challenges included the church’s status as a significant heritage building, the narrow site and its proximity to ground water. This required careful management and innovation by the D&C team to ensure the structure remained functional and capable of supporting an adjacent multi-residential apartment tower with 72 apartments.

Other design features included the building’s success in achieving a suitable indoor to outdoor relationship; reduced heating and cooling requirements due to the building envelope’s construction materials; maintenance of the exterior aesthetics with new vertical elements; access to natural light and ventilation for all bedrooms; and spatial design that preserved the space of the heritage building while creating a modern, luxury interior.

Restoration of the original church was a high priority for FKG Group, with heritage experts employed to help ensure the success of the project in preserving the historic building’s exterior and interior. Opened in 1904, the last congregational service at the church was held in December 1919, after which a hall built across the rear of the main building served as commercial offices and recently a gym until work commenced in 2014 for the current hotel development.

Quest Toowoomba Manager, Cynthia Rice has described the building as “an outstanding integration of old and new with a high quality level of finish,” with FKG Group successfully completing the project within budget and by employing innovative solutions.

“Quest Apartments Toowoomba has showcased FKG Group’s D&C team’s ability to preserve the past while building the future of our fast-growing city. BDAQ aims to promote the pursuit of excellence and integrity, and that is exactly what we plan on continuing to deliver across our expanding project pipeline,” said Dallas Hunter, Group Manager – Developments for the FKG Group.

“The FKG Group’s approach to construction projects has evolved over the last five years, with up to 60 per cent of our work now under D&C arrangements. We believe this style of packaged work is the way of the future, providing clients with a level of certainty of cost.”

Among FKG Group’s current D&C projects in Queensland are the landmark Cairns Aquarium, the Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ new distribution centre and Pimpama Secondary College Stage 3.

Success in the Queensland awards has given FKG Group entry into the National Building Design Awards, planned for the Gold Coast on October 1.

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