Nova Cairns

In this competition winning design, CA Architects approached the development of a brownfield site on the edge of the Cairns CBD by taking a slice of the history and context of the site and formed it into a defining vision for the masterplan.

Movement through the site follows the meandering course of a sculptural glass canopy. This canopy is an architectural metaphor reinstating the original condition of the flowing creek landscape. It provides a shaded pedestrian connection flowing from Spence Street through to the foreshore district. The organic form pools around the central tower gently rising over the ‘lagoon’ plaza where the community gathers to enjoy restaurants, coffee shops and entertainment. The branching glass and steel canopy provides a soft filtered light sheltering the vibrant street life below.

Nova introduces a new dimension of public space to the city. The creation of a pedestrian-focused streetscape lined with outdoor dining and retail outlets is unique in Cairns. The intimate scale and cosmopolitan café culture nestled amongst a landscape of sparkling ponds, waterfalls and shady street trees provide an unmistakeable sense of place. The podium deck links all seven towers above the street. This luxurious tropical urban habitat has variety of spaces to explore.

As a result of this “big idea” approach, we have been able to develop a flexible yet coherent building and landscape language which gives order to the development whilst allowing high density accommodation without becoming oppressive. This has allowed us to achieve development approval for much higher density and taller buildings than meet the deemed-to-satisfy parts of the Cairns Planning Scheme.

Due to its size and nature the site has been very attractive to various universities and inner-city campus.

  • Date : 2014-Current
  • Responsible Staff : Gisela Jung, Carlo Amerio, John Hoyes
  • Reference : Paul Kelly
  • Construction Cost : $tbc