On Saturday, 2 October 2010 an event to let Brisbanites to know more about their city’s buildings were held titled Brisbane Open House. It is the first year the city held such an event. The only Australian city that has already held similar event is none other than Australia’s capital of culture, Melbourne (well, from my point of view when it comes to self-promotion Melbourne and Brisbane are competing). Similar events were also held in New York, London and Dublin although I’m not quite sure whether it was on the same day as Brisbane Open House.
I begin this report with my afternoon session visit (morning session coming soon incl. Tattersalls Club, Brisbane Square, Santos Place and Brisbane Law Court). The first building that I visit after my lunch was Riparian Plaza, my favourite Brisbane building. To tour this building, you must book in advance due to limited space and the fact that Riparian Plaza consists of penthouses as well. Aussies really hate when their privacy is disturbed.
We (tour participants) waited outside the building until a guide came (one of the penthouse owner I believe). The guide told us that photography inside the building is strongly forbidden. But still, the view outside the building is magnificent.
The tour began outside the building (again) but instead of Eagle St, it’s from the Brisbane River side. Riparian Plaza is a mix use building consists of carpark, offices, apartments and telecommunication tower. Without the telecommunication tower, it is Brisbane’s second tallest building after Aurora Tower. However, since the calculation of tallest building includes any special features, then it is Brisbane’s tallest. Otherwise, Gold Coast’s Q1 won’t be Australia’s tallest and the title will go to Melbourne.
A water fountain is located on the river side of the building, however, due to water restriction, water is not flowing. If you go to UQ St Lucia campus, the same story also happens to the fountain located outside Duhig building.
According to the information sheet given by the volunteers at the ground level, Riparian Plaza was built by Harry Seidler completed before his death in 2006. It was built between 2002 and 2005 and a similar building designed by the same man is just right next door, the Riverside Plaza.
After the introduction to the building, our guide led us to level 39. First destination is the recreation deck where you can organise your own party. If you think the room is too big or there is another group of people who wants to organise their own party, the room can be separated into two using movable wall (or whatever the correct term is).
And by the way, the lifts at Riparian Plaza is huge you can put your sofa inside. Though might not be as huge as the lifts that will be used at the currently under-construction development at Singapore’s Scotts Road, formerly the site known as Hotel Asia. No clue? Read last year or two years ago editions of the Straits Times.
After that we were introduced to the sauna room. To tell you the truth, I have never tried sauna before. I have seen sauna on the telly but despite my background coming from a tourism-based community, I know nothing about this. What wows me is the stone used as the wall to keep the sauna hot and running. Again, I’m sorry I don’t know what kind of stone is that but it’s black in colour.
Now to the most breathtaking part of this tour, the balcony. Here, you can see downtown Brisbane from 39-storey above the ground.
I believe this is Charlotte St. It might be just another common thing in Singapore or Hong Kong but certainly is a unique experience in Brisbane. The water drips on the handrail tells the nature of the weather on that day.
Taking a picture of Story Bridge from Eagle Street Pier or near Customs House is ordinary. Not trying to be snooty but it’s not always you have the chance to capture the Story Bridge from level 39 unless you own a property at Riparian Plaza.
Fortitude Valley, Bowen Hills and even Gateway Bridge can be seen from here. It’s totally wowsville, Gateway Bridge is not that far from the airport.
A swimming pool is also located on level 39. A glass panel is used to separate the pool into the indoor and outdoor although the glass panel is only 6-inch deep into the water. A special kind of tiles is used to reduce ‘slipperiness’. A man on this tour took a photo of this swimming pool while the rest of the group was eaiting for the lift exclaiming, “I’m taking picture from the outside.”
From level 39 we were then brought to the carpark at level 10 (or 11, I forget). The reason why there is no underground carpark is that the Brisbane River. Higher chances of erosion and that means…
A few nights or weeks before this tour, I watched A Current Affair until it was almost Two and A Half Men and they ran a story on unique properties. Riparian Plaza was featured. Usually I only watch the first one to three stories of Today Tonight or A Current Affair before switching it off. Anyway, if you ever think of buying an apartment at Riparian Plaza, it starts at the million.