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  • Writer's pictureyonasngaturi

Artainer Northshore: A work in creative place making

Updated: Sep 8, 2020


Project period: February to June 2019

Level: University core unit project

Project description: Designing a space or attraction to increase visitation and community engagement with Northshore waterfront spaces

Role: Designer and prototype developer

Skills: Graphic design, urban space planning, SketchUp 3D modelling

Result: Top six project among cohort, project presented to the Queensland state Government

Takeaway: Be open to learning new concepts like creative place making, learning new skills like SketchUp 3D modelling to achieve the best outcome and collaborate with others to bring project to fruition


A core unit in the Bachelor of Creative Industries gave the cohort the opportunity to design a space as part of the Economic Development Queensland's Northshore waterfront district renewal project. I was in charge with the digital prototyping and design of the team's site concept. To complete the project to its full potential, I learnt 3D modelling using SketchUp to make the highest fidelity prototype of our project concept.

Our team produced a proposal for an art and design precinct named Artainer, a dual use at space. This met the brief of increasing visitors and physical presence during the day. The site also provided a platform for artists to create, collaborate and share art.

Artainer was part of the six out of 55 projects selected to be presented to the client and industry panellists at the Queensland government headquarters.

The client

Northshore Hamilton is Queensland's largest waterfront renewal project which is overseen by a division of Economic Development Queensland within the Queensland government.

The brief

There was a need to increase foot traffic to Northshore on weekends during daytime and on weekdays in general. The client also wanted to encourage public interaction and engagement with the Northshore spaces.

We were asked to deliver an interdisciplinary site concept which takes a place-based approach. The site attraction had to appeal to a diverse audience, reflect the area's heritage and address ethics and sustainability.

Our solution

We developed Artainer, an art space meant to be a studio during the day and marketplace at night. This ensures site activity and presence on weekend daylight hours and throughout the weekdays.

The site would give artists a platform to produce their work and for the public to interact with their art.

We further programmed the space with different events to attract different audiences and open the space up for private hire.

To make Artainer unique and specific to Northshore, we highlight the site's heritage in the design. We had port and industrial elements to show the site's history. These elements would be made from repurposed on-site materials to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.



We looked at various container spaces around the world for inspiration as Artainer's main form would be made from shipping containers. This helped us when designing the structure and interior of Artainer.

We then looked at different art markets and studios for us to understand the features, needs and operations of artist spaces.


To bring the project to life, we underwent three different stages of prototyping.

At the initial phase, we did a low fidelity prototype which were basic sketches of the space and a physical model.

We then put the design into Adobe Illustrator as a mid fidelity prototype. We realise that it would not be feasible to continue prototyping in Illustrator. This is because 2D designs would not allow the viewer to visualise the space as clearly as we would like them too.

This led me to learn some 3D modelling using SketchUp with the help of my friend. I fleshed out a 3D model of Artainer combined with a video fly-through as part of our final presentation.

Lessons learnt/result

Our project was in the top six out of the 55 projects in the cohort to be presented to the clients themselves.

Team ethos was to take the project to its fullest potential and allow the viewers to visualise the concept as comprehensively as we wanted them to. I believe it was the team ethos that led us to develop a holistic concept, constantly collaborate with each other to refine the project and to learn new things to enhance the project.

Prototyping is key to allow designers to see the big picture and test the concept. We were able to identify design problems and tackle it easily once the prototypes were completed. In order to have a high quality prototype, it was necessary for us to learn new skills and collaborate with experts of the domain/software to get the job done.

Creative placemaking was a relatively foreign topic to me and I had to be open to learning the new concept and to seek feedback from my other teammates to see if I was on the right track.

It was unexpected that we would end up being the top six projects selected to present to the client at the government headquarters. Before we presented there, we received mentoring from our course coordinator, Dr Sophie McIntyre and Creative Enterprise Australia entrepreneur-in-residence, Christopher Heuer.

From their guidance, I learnt to sharpen my public speaking skills and change my approach to client presentations. Most importantly, I learnt to paint a narrative to the audience and emphasise the benefit of the concept to them.

"Yonas kicked off the pitch with enthusiasm and relatability which I enjoyed. The Artainer was a strong concept and the team did well to communicate the feel of the space using the 3D walkthrough."

- Presentation feedback

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