bicheno surf life saving club + boathouse

project: Bicheno Surf Life Saving Club + Boathouse

location: Bicheno, Tasmania

awards: 2014 Nicholas Murcutt National award for small project architecture
2014 Australian Institute of Architects: Small Project Award,
2014 Australian Institute of Architects : Sustainability Commendation,
5 x Keep Australia Beautiful Awards : Sustainable Community Awards

description: The little Bicheno Surf Life Saving Club and Boathouse is not just another shed. The club and boathouse principally for training young nippers to swim safely in the ocean is a bold contemporary timber form placed like an abstract vessel careened on the edge of the quartz white sand of Waub’s Bay, Bicheno, Tasmania.

The timber boathouse stands proudly as a public gesture. Serving as an historic beacon it takes cues directly from the activities of the last five remaining commercial cray fishing boats that operate out of Bicheno today. Cray fishing is a traditional commercial fishing activity that was once the mainstay of the coastal town’s economy.

Timber battens are laid horizontally in a crafted pattern of alternating sizes with finger-jointed ends expressed at each corner. The banded timber cladding is a direct metaphor interpreting cray-pots that are today still handcrafted using traditional time honored techniques weaving thin natural timber strips into a delicate striation to form the crustacean trap.

By day the timber crafted box washed ashore is intended to grey and silver to give a weathered patina over time, and contrastingly by night the little building becomes a lantern shouting out loud a message that the proud Bicheno community cares for both its environment and its children’s wellbeing.

category: public buildings

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