By Natalie Hoitz | 2 Nov 2016

This past October, 700 delegates from across Australia flocked to the idyllic Queensland setting of Hamilton Island for the 2016 Property Congress. 

There was a definite feeling that the property industry is ready and able to lead our cities positively in to the future.

Over the course of two days, a myriad of topics impacting the changing canvas of our cities were touched on and the take-outs were inspiring. The optimism of those in attendance at the Congress was palpable. There was a definite feeling that the property industry is ready and able to lead our cities positively in to the future. 

From the Congress’ broad discussions emerged an opportunity to learn more about three cutting-edge, world-class projects that embody many of the principles captured in the theory. It was my great pleasure to moderate this “World Best Projects” session and relate my own professional design interests to the emerging themes. The panel and subject matter offered a unique chance to see how ideas for better cities and places are translating into real action.

There are common threads to the Congress’ chosen three world best projects that provide insights and lessons to all those who participate in the property industry.

Flexibility. Future-proofing. Incorporating high quality spaces for people to connect and collaborate. Pushing the boundaries of built form design. The importance of integration with the surrounding urban context.

All of these are critical success factors and important themes. It is projects like these that are the new benchmarks of innovation, offering their own unique and world-class inspiration and optimism about what the future of our cities can hold.

For those that missed it – here is a snapshot of the three world best projects presented at the Congress:

Canary Wharf Crossrail 

Canary Wharf Crossrail (presented by Arup) defines a new era in rail station design that extends far beyond the mere provision of transport services. The iconic roof structure of the station designed by Fosters and Partners, floats above an internalised and heroic fully publicly-accessible sky-garden.


Ground level retail tenancies that can be flexibly altered and reconfigured, link to high quality public spaces and the station below. Crossrail Plaza adds a new and vibrant dimension that invigorates the surrounding commercial areas of Canary Wharf and neighbouring residential areas of Poplar. This is more than just a showy rail station; it is an injection of vibrancy and place that is already catalysing renewal and change.

Canary Wharf Crossrail 2016 Property Congress Video – Prepared by Arup

Quay Quarter

quay-quarterThe concept for Quay Quarter Sydney (presented by AMP Capital) showcases Australia on the world stage. A complete transformation of two whole inner city urban blocks delivers what will be a globally recognisable day and night mixed-use precinct.

Perhaps the greatest triumph of this soon-to-be-delivered project is the re-imagined commercial tower incorporating terraces, atria and moveable floor plates that promote working villages and collaboration.

The project plans to up-cycle 2/3s of the existing commercial tower – something that has never been done before – delivering both environmental and cost benefits for the project. QQS will drive a new energy and pulse to its central Sydney location, through a well-designed, activated ground plane and public realm.

The Urbis NSW planning team were responsible for overseeing the complex approvals process. Click here to learn more

Quay Quarter Sydney 2016 Property Congress Video – Prepared by AMP Capital

Francis Crick Institute

Finally, the newly completed Francis Crick Institute (presented by Turner & Townsend) from London – Europe’s largest and newest bio-medical research – demonstrates how the physical design of space plays a pivotal role in the future of discovery and innovation in medical research.


The scale of this project is hard to comprehend and is globally significant. The project brings together six different research bodies into one 80,000sqm building that incorporates both state-of-the-art fixed laboratories as well a vast array of collaborative and communal spaces. The design encourages and enables interaction between scientists in various research fields and will be the hub of bio-medical activity and innovation for the region.

Francis Crick Institute 2016 Property Congress Video – Prepared by Turner and Townsend 

I, like many others, am looking forward to seeing which world’s best projects will be showcased at the 2017 Property Congress to be held in Cairns next year.

Natalie Hoitz View Profile