TCL – Taylor Cullity Lethlean: Henley Beach, a seaside village of Adelaide, located on the St Vincent Gulf, was once imagined as a seaside resort for the City of Adelaide, as a popular place for sailing regattas, sports days on the beaches, swimming in the sea and promenading on the jetties. Yet the popularity and experience of these pastimes had been in decline.
“Australians are drawn to the beach to rejuvenate our everyday lives, shed our worries and connect to its elemental forces. It is a joyful experience, where we revel in the beauty of its landscapes and the exhilaration of its ever changing characters. The beach is where we meet, whether to celebrate our national and community events or enjoy family gatherings or time with friends.”
TCL, with Troppo Architects, have reconnected Adelaide to the joys of Henley Beach. Diverse communities are now brought together in playful spaces that celebrate this historic setting with its sublime outlook to the sea. This is not a setting for serious highbrow gestures, quite the opposite, this is a site for some serious beach fun, and comprises three public experiences.
Henley Square forms the threshold between Main Street and the beach. A delicate scrim of water and a flotsam of sculpted objects, are used to unite the setting and invite playful interaction. This setting, once a site of transition, is now a major community destination, a true meeting place where locals and visitors meet, dine and are entertained. Reminiscent of grand follies from the past, new shade structures frame the square and provide crucial shade to outdoor seating and dining areas and allow uninterrupted views to the historic built forms flanking the space.
A new beach park offers big views to sky and ocean and a setting for informal recreation, chance encounters and organised events. The park is framed by a continuous promenade loop connecting a sequence of destinations and providing a revitalised people watching passeggiata, furnished with a range of whimsical showers for after swim rinses, shade shelters, new edges, walls, seats and terraces. Access to the Beach is enhanced via new ramps, and terraces, providing opportunities for those seeking seating, sunbathing, shade or traversing.
The famous Henley Beach jetty is drawn into the site, back on land, used as a new armature connecting Main Street to the Beach. This simple telescopic gesture, accepts the Jetty as a major destination and desire line. Its expression transforms along its length from activated plaza, to
playful “ripple lounge” seating spaces, to belvedere, providing new connections to the well-loved jetty and the gulf beyond. The outcome is a revitalisation of seaside village life, where success is measured in how it has contributed to the celebration of the quintessentially Australian beach culture.
Landscape Architect: TCL – Taylor Cullity Lethlean
Client: City of Charles Sturt
Location: Henley Beach, South Australia
Collaboration: Troppo Architects, Bluebottle, Wallbridge and Gilbert
Completion Date: December 2015
Awards: 2016 AILA SA Parks and Open Space Award of Excellence
2016 AIA SA Architecture Award Commended for Urban Design
2013 Winning entry Henley Square competition, City of Charles Sturt