Mackay Regional Council (MRC) was successful in securing funding for the upgrade of the existing Lamberts Lookout to improve the appeal and amenity of the site, at the same time creating a ‘must see’ destination for the people of Mackay and people visiting Mackay. The upgrade was to consist of a pavilion and a viewing platform.
BOLD won the commission and, during the public consultation period, concern was raised about construction of a structure at the lookout ruining the natural aesthetic. It was determined that the best site to locate the structure was the highest point of the hill to the south of the existing hardstand area. This siting meant that a visitor’s view of the sea, upon arriving at the plateau, was not inhibited by a structure.
The challenge of the design was to then create a connection from the pedestrian area on the existing hardstand up to the top of the hill. This connectivity was created by a twisting concrete spine which starts as a seat, becomes a wall, then a seat again. The spine wall becomes the foundation to which the pavilion structure clings. The plan form and siting of the two distinct areas creates a journey for the visitor that subtly presents the full 360 degree panorama from this majestic location. The skeletal structure that follows the gentle curve of the spine wall also responds to rise of the ramp, creating a sympathetic form on the hill and naturally cradles the visitor at the peak.
The construction of all elements needed to be simple and robust because of the highly exposed and corrosive environment. Therefore the palette of materials became concrete, stainless steel, composite fibre and fibre cement, significantly reducing the ongoing maintenance of the structure.
The final outcome is a look-out that is prominent but not dominant, respects the natural environment, and enhances the visitor’s experience of one of Mackay’s great natural locations.