Beyond the Beach and into the Blue: Gold Coast High-rises and the Oceanic Gaze

Grahame Griffin


Abstract

Gold Coast high-rises are big and tall and sometimes they appear or are made to appear bigger and taller than they really are. They also loom large in other ways. They are part of the fabric and fantasy of the Gold Coast. They are its supreme icons. Only nine per cent of the permanent population lives in high-rises and the canal estates have considerable local cachet and appeal. Yet the city turns to its high-rises not only to promote itself to the rest of the world, but also to hold its own self-image: the Gold Coast City Council sponsors a ‘heritage’ architectural guide to tall buildings on the Gold Coast; the Gold Coast Bulletin constantly features articles on new high-rise plans and developments, high-rise architects, builders and developers, and high-rise residents. No-one seems to complain about views being obscured, at least publicly, and the shadows-on-the-beach argument, once a talking point, has been abandoned—in resignation, perhaps.

Keywords

Gold Coast; high-rises; fantasy; self-image

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