Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre

Design Feature
Project Type
Local Government Initiative

Brisbane City Council's Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre, located in Karawatha Forest Park, aims to inform locals and visitors about the environmental significance of the natural area. The project provides unique, multi-sensory, interactive play and learning experiences, including an insight into the local frog population and Queensland’s first outdoor nature play space. 

Enabling creative and memorable interaction

Karawatha Forest is one of the largest areas of remnant bushland within Brisbane and is home to more than 320 native plant species, and more than 200 species of wildlife including the highest diversity of frog species in Brisbane and a number of rare and threatened species.  

Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre weaved together art, architecture, and nature to create an interactive collection of indoor and outdoor learning activities and displays in a forest setting. The nature play space at the Discovery Centre was the first in Queensland and uses landscape-based materials and artwork, rather than traditional play equipment, to engage children and facilitate an interest in and respect for the natural world. 

The modern architecture of the main display building was designed to juxtapose with the natural appearance of the surroundings. However, to ensure the design was not overpowering in the natural setting, a nature-patterned facade (coloured to match the forest shadows) was applied which, at particular times in the day, can make the main building seem to disappear. In this way, the structure does not interfere with the surrounding natural area’s sense of place and has minimal environmental impact. 

Before the Discovery Centre was built, the local community expressed a desire to highlight the unique and important value of the area. As a result, Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre educates visitors of the environmental significance of the natural area in a creative and interactive way. Visitors are encouraged to interact and engage in unstructured play, bringing a sense of vibrancy to the local area.  

The Discovery Centre provides a space in the community that facilitates incidental physical activity, social interaction and the development of a sense of place via acknowledgement of the natural surroundings. Furthermore, it promotes a vision for the community that is environmentally sustainable into the future.  

Project Team 

  • Natural Environment, Water and Sustainability Branch, Brisbane City Council 
  • City Projects Office, Brisbane City Council 
  • Focus Productions (interior fit out of Centre) 
  • Lavaworks (artist for bronze sculptures) 
  • Karawatha Forest Protection Society (KFPS) 

Project Cost 

  • $7 million 

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