Bayside City Council engaged Zen Architects on this project that includes two new amenities buildings on Jetty Road in Sandringham in an area known as Picnic Point.

The beach site is in an elevated position at the north end of Sandringham Beach, the site of an Aboriginal shell midden, and the Kiosk site is down the hill between the track to the jetty and the Sandy Beach Kiosk.

The traditional owners are the Boon Wurrung whose lands extend from Werribee around Port Phillip Bay to Wilsons Promontory, and north to the Dandenong Ranges.

There are several registered Aboriginal places in the local area and these are all Aboriginal shell middens with surveys revealing shell fragments of mussel, turban shell and limpet. 

However a flat roofed, concrete and bluestone toilet block built in the 1970s was constructed on a midden at the best vantage point above Sandringham beach, preventing its traditional use as a place for gathering, and destroying the expansive views over Port Phillip Bay and Sandringham Beach towards Red Bluff.

The 1970s toilet block has been removed and the new beachside amenities have been sited to restore the landscape as a gathering place, with views to the water, beach, cliffs and coastal vegetation.

The amenities located near the kiosk are similarly sited to allow connections and improve safety and accessibility, including uninterrupted view lines for natural surveillance.

Both buildings sit with the contours of the land, slightly elevated above the ground plane, and allude to the local landscape and history of the sites.

The crouched, bent forms are a deliberate departure from the rectilinear forms and gable roofs in the area, while materials are drawn from the local context, including timber walkways and structural framing, weathering steel cladding, and clear roofs with timber batten shading.

The structures are lightweight to reduce embodied energy and ground disturbance at the sensitive foreshore locations and restore overland water flow.

The verandahs on the front of each building provide degrees of protection and openness to views, wind and sunlight.

The roof forms are designed to harvest rain water and accommodate solar panels for water and energy conservation, and erosion management.

The sloped walls minimise disruption to wind patterns and the buildings are permeable, allowing filtered sunlight and bay breezes into the interior environment.

Predominantly timber structure, combined with familiar construction methods and cladding materials produced a highly cost effective architectural outcome, while responding to the many lightweight beachside buildings in the local area.

Siting and visibility, orientation and access, materials and finishes are all geared to reverse the negative human behaviour associated with toilet blocks and redirect attention to the natural environment, to reconnect to place.

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About the Awards

The Sustainability Awards is Australia’s longest running and most prestigious awards program dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating excellence in sustainable design and architecture. Nominations received are shortlisted and then winners for each category are announced at a five-star Gala evening hosted this year at the Star, Sydney on 11 October 2018. The daytime event Sustainability Live is a CPD-endorsed education event where industry experts present a range of topics to educate, inform and ignite learning.

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