Sam Crawford Architects have transformed North Bondi Amenities and Marks Park Amenities through beautiful and sustainable design, pushing life into the precincts around them.
If you’ve ever been to a beautiful beach in Australia, you’re probably familiar with the standard red brick toilet and shower space that doesn’t really resemble its surroundings. The North Bondi Amenities were designed to accommodate large summer crowds, built for bare feet, salty skin and designed to withstand the sting of the coastal elements year after year.
“Orientated to the ocean, the promenade address draws people into the building, providing the amenity of toilets, change rooms, and accessible facilities. Skylights admit generous natural light and a slotted skin draws fresh air through the internal spaces. Replacing the worn-out 1980’s amenities, the new building increases capacity and upgrades the facilities to cater to all beach-goers,” commented Sam Crawford Architects.
Using timber cladding, the building is designed to provide a sense of softness to the usual perfunctory building type. The building’s colour scheme was the result of a collaboration with a colour consultant, Sonia van de Haar of Lymemith. The North Bondi Amenities project was inspired to explore the public nature of the building. Thus, Sonia introduced institutional paint colours to create a datum line in the building that speaks to the assertive presence of the horizon line and plays with a sense of proportion at a human scale.
“A collaboration with graphic designers Deuce Design brought a playful element to statutory signage, resulting in a cohesive environmental graphic design that complement rather than overwhelm the small building,” the colour consultant said.
A green roof was designed to help regulate temperatures, adding thermal mass and insulation from the sun. The external cladding of the building utilises salvaged hardwood timber which was discovered during the demolition of a Council warehouse. Hardwearing materials such as terrazzo and concrete ensure that the building withstands the harsh coastal elements of its surroundings. Lastly, five-star rated fixtures throughout ensure responsible water usage from visitors.
A similar great sustainable design theme carries through with Marks Park Amenities.
Occupying the headland between Bondi and Tamarama beaches, the Marks Park Amenities building replaces the boring 1970’s brick and concrete bunker with a building that can actually cater for the peak crowds of everyday users and the annual ‘Sculpture by The Sea’ event crowds.
Rather than demolishing the building completely, the design brief was to recycle the existing structure and turn it into something marvellous. The Marks Park Amenities are clad with recycled hardwood posts and a generous public veranda was added to provide visitors shelter from the elements.
Originally built in the late 1970’s as a set of hockey/ soccer team change rooms and public toilets, for the nearby sports field, the facility now houses a park maintenance staff room, park maintenance machinery storeroom, male and female amenities and an accessible toilet.
“It is one of many such facilities built in the 1970’s and 1980’s by local councils, typically designed by in-house council engineers…in this case with a concrete roof befitting a coastal artillery placement,” the architect commented.
Rainwater is captured from to supply the bathroom, along with similar ventilation and natural light resembling what was used in the North Bondi Amenities. Externally, timber posts that wrap the skin of building were recycled from Waverley Council Works Depot at Zetland (before it was demolished). The recycled hardwood posts, unify the form of the building and gives rise to a play of textures and shadows throughout the day.
It would be great to see more of this type of intriguing, sustainable design, across all of Australia’s beaches, not just Sydney’s.