Some call it the Australian Rimini. Surfers Paradise is a suburb of the city of Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. And, as the name suggests, it is a famous seaside resort with stunningly long beaches. Surfers Paradise is also distinctive for its unusual skyline, with tall buildings rising up where the beach ends. But there is one building that towers over all the others, which pale by comparison: it is the Q1 Tower, the tallest residential building in Australia. With a height of 322.5 metres, Queensland Number One has no rivals in the whole of Oceania.
Let’s take a look at the characteristics and distinctive architectural and construction features of the Q1 Tower.
Q1 Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the whole of Australia
There is certainly no lack of tall or very tall skyscrapers in Australia. Take Australia 108, for example, a skyscraper in Melbourne that is 316.7 metres tall. Or the Eureka Tower, also in Melbourne, with a height of 297 metres. But none of them can outdo the 322.5 metres of the Q1 Tower. When we talk about the height of this record-breaking skyscraper, we need to provide some further explanation, however. Because although the total height is as indicated, we should point out that the Surfers Paradise skyscraper is “aided” by an extremely tall spire, and this makes no small contribution to its height. The actual height of the roof of the building is 245 metres, in fact. So if we measure the building from the tip of the spire, the Q1 Tower qualifies as the tallest skyscraper in Australia, as well as the 14th tallest residential building in the world. But if we don’t count the spire, the skyscraper would be considerably lower than the huge towers of Melbourne.
However, the criterion normally used to establish the height of buildings is that set by the US-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and this body does allow spires to be included.
It is worth noting that taking this criterion as the basis, the Q1 Tower was also the tallest skyscraper in the world for several years, from 2005 (overtaking the 21st Century Tower in Dubai) until 2011. And in addition to being the tallest building in Australia, it is currently the second tallest building in the whole of the southern hemisphere.
The meaning of the name
There is a particular reason for the unusual name of this Australian skyscraper. The Q1 Tower is named in honour of the members of the Australian Olympic rowing team from the 1920s. But the name also has another, more immediate meaning, that is, Queensland Number One, indicating the number one skyscraper in Queensland.
The design of the Q1 Tower in Australia
The skyscraper was designed by the SDG & The Buchan Group studio, and was inspired by two specific designs: on one hand, the Olympic torch of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and on the other, the Sydney Opera House. The whole design is based on careful study of the wind, movement and tension, with a series of aluminium-clad ribbons that gradually twist as they move around the building. What distinguishes the Q1 Tower from the other skyscrapers in Surfers Paradise, in addition to its phenomenal height partly due to the spire, is the decision to cover the entire building with glass panels, giving the Queensland Number One tower a particularly elegant appearance. As a result of its distinctive section and soaring spire, the Q1 Tower looks different from every angle, and its unusual features won it the Silver Emporis Skyscraper Award 2005, in second place to the Turning Torso in Sweden.
The construction of the Queensland Number One skyscraper
The building work on the Q1 Tower was carried out by Sunland Constructions. Construction began in 2002, and the building was handed over in November 2005. On average, a new floor was built every 4 work days.
The specific features of the Q1 Tower
This incredibly high Australian skyscraper stands on a complex of 26 piles, each measuring 2 metres in diameter and extending 40 metres into the ground below, passing through several metres of rock. Inside the skyscraper are 2 groups of high-speed lifts, with 4 lifts serving the B2 level up to the 42nd floor, and then 3 from the 43rd floor to the penthouse on the 77th (?) floor of the building. Thanks to these ultra-high-speed lifts, it is possible to go from the ground floor to the top floor in just 43 seconds. To reach the 77th floor using the stairs you would have to climb 1,331 steps.
Among other facilities, the building houses an Olympic-size swimming pool, two lagoon pools, a gym, a ballroom, a spa centre and a small theatre. We should add that 5 years after the work was completed, an application was made to construct an external walkway around the top floors of the building, just under the spire. However, this project has not been carried out.
One of the principal attractions of the Q1 Tower is the famous Observation Deck, which offers a panorama over the entire Gold Coast, from the sea to the hinterland.
The construction of Queensland Number One required 6,000 cubic metres of concrete, as well as 9,300 tons of steel and almost 19,000 glass panels. The spire itself also offers some interesting statistics, being the longest spire in the world at 97.7 metres (starting on the 75th floor of the building) and with 12 sections. The total weight of the spire is 87 tons.
The overall cost of construction of the skyscraper is estimated to be around 255 million Australian dollars.