Brief: New Surf Life Saving Club to increase amenity for the Club, local residents and beach goers while maintaining a similar footprint to the existing facility and nestling into its natural surroundings.
Challenges: Accommodating the extensive functional needs brief of the Club, community groups and general public, while preserving the essence of what people love about Long Reef – the natural rugged coastline.
Solutions: A quiet architecture which nestles into the surrounding dunescape. Made up of a series of smaller pavilions, the building weathers over time and a large central courtyard lets the landscape in. Gently raking kite and planted roof forms signal use to the public and camouflage the building into the natural landscape. Hard working and well planned internal and external spaces are flexible and vary in use depending on time of day and season.
Highlights: External circulation, hardworking spaces and flexible programming has allowed for a design which is robust, beautiful and small – a respectful and humble addition to a precious natural site.
Long Reef is a rare jewel on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, a sanctuary for native flora and fauna as well as the people who come from near and far to escape the surrounding suburban sprawl and reconnect with nature.
The brief and community consultation called for a building that is low-key, hardworking, robust and honest, providing essential amenity for current and future generations of locals, Club members, Council and visitors alike.
Our response is for a quiet architecture, one that nestles into the surrounding landscape, a building that weathers and lets the landscape in, respecting and preserving the rich and delicate ecosystem that is Long Reef and the greater Griffith Reserve.
The new facility is in fact a series of smaller pavilions set within the landscape, book-ended by an existing due to the east and a man made dune to the west. The pavilions are clad in timber rain screens that are allowed to silver and settle into the natural scene.
The pavilions are arranged around a central courtyard, the main social hub. They provide amenity to outside spaces, in turn reducing the building footprint and reliance on enclosed space. Outdoor furniture collects shifting sands and vegetation as well as creating opportunities to linger and serendipitous interactions between different user groups. The main pavilion hosts a function room on the second storey, providing breathtaking views to North Head, and intimate views into the existing unescape and Banksia Grove. The kite shaped roof is designed to gently rise to maintain a low-scale.
Through several Working Group meetings facilitated by Northern Beaches Council, and meetings onsite with Club and community groups, design iterations were made to address the concerns of different users of the site.
The result is a building that provides amenity for a safer beach-going experience, a place to interact with your neighbours, learn how to surf, attend a nippers session with the kids, take a yoga class or a first aid course… a base to compete in events or host a school excursions to discover the site’s unique coastal flora and fauna, a spot to stop in for coffee while walking the dog, grab an ice-cream or catch some waves.
Across the seasons the Long Reef Surf Life Saving Club is in a constant state of flux, a flexible building that dramatically increases the amenity of the site while preserving and celebrating the landscape that people come to enjoy.