[Video] Is it more art than amenity or more amenity than art? That was the question as Councillor Tim Dwyer met with the architect and the artist responsible for what is arguably the most impressive amenities block on the Sunshine Coast at Happy Valley in Caloundra.
The new Bulcock Beach amenities block was designed by architect Adrian Just, director of Archicology with the help of local artist, Tony Coles who designed the striking screen depicting a kite surfer, seagulls and pandanus tree.
Cr Dwyer said the block was an excellent example of a public building responding to local needs and interests.
“I’m sure locals will agree that the new building is a real work of art which enhances our foreshore and reflects the environment of Bulcock Beach,” Cr Dwyer said.
“While in the past amenities blocks have not always added to the beautification of an area this demonstrates how a bit of creativity and thought can improve not only the look of a building but also the functionality.”
The removal of the old building also ensured that the land could be returned to the public esplanade opening the lines of sight down the beach, across the river mouth and out to sea. The new block is tucked back against the bank with better access to the carpark, barbeques and swings, and out of sight of the residential units in the area.
Mr Just said the laser cut aluminium screen, which is approximately 15 metres long and 2.5 metres high, was selected to compliment the other metalwork along Bulcock Beach incorporated in the street furniture and other sculptures.
“The screen is used for what we call ‘CPTED’ purposes or Crime Prevention through Environmental Design making the building safe for the public and breaking the strong South East winds which blast straight at the building from across the Caloundra seaway,” Mr Just said.
The local artist responsible for the design, Tony Coles, has exhibited internationally and is now heavily involved in teaching but says he has always enjoyed being involved with local art works.
“It’s wonderful as an artist when you can contribute to the landscape of your local community and this project was a great opportunity to take a public amenity block and create something unique to the area,” Mr Coles said.
The Bulcock Beach block is just one of the many projects Archicology have completed for Council and where possible, Mr Just said they always try to use some local reference in the buildings. Other laser cut screens include designs of Eucalyptus kabiana (the Beerwah Mallee) at Beerwah, and the Banksia robusta at Noosa Northshore.
“It is the only public amenities along this busy esplanade so it needs to be special. All public buildings need to engage with their users, even if it is just an amenities block,” said the architect.
“Governments and public utilities can be reticent to use designs which are different but we were confident that this was a functional and appealing outcome for this building. Councilor Dwyer has been personally supportive of the project from the very start, which helped enormously,” Mr Just said.
Update: Site of old amenities block transformed.