North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club by Durbach Block Jaggers in association with Peter Colquhoun
Public Architecture: National Commendation
Australian Institute of Architects
North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club’s sparkling new building replaces an old and banal clubhouse that was introverted and disconnected from the public realm. The new building is open, engaged and extroverted, celebrating life on Australia’s most famous beach.
The building is a remarkable achievement. Normally the pragmatics of tight budgets, expansive spatial requirements and committee decision-making produce a lowest common denominator result. Here, however, the foresight and drive of architect club member Peter Colquhoun, working in collaboration with Durbach Block Jaggers, have delivered an inspired result. The project delivers at every level: a low per-square-metre cost, huge storage areas for equipment and excellent club facilities, training and entertainment spaces. This is a wonderful work of architecture that enhances its beach setting and offers much more than its predecessor, on a smaller footprint.
The form sits in the round, an object that varies gradually and continuously. Internal spaces are arranged in a continuous motion between levels, with clear connections both within and to the outside. The shimmering skin of ceramic tiles with fractured patterning is robust yet delicate, animated by sun and shadow. Openings are strategically positioned to survey the beach, pick out a suburban vignette, reveal the club’s activities to the public or celebrate the horizon. This building celebrates the understated heroism of the club’s activities and the hedonism of Bondi life.
Read the project review by Laura Harding from Architecture Australia.