Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club : VT#6 The Value of Consultation
The CSLSC is an institution the predates the original 1940’s heritage building which sits at the centre of the conglomerate of buildings that constitute the club house. A number of accretions and modifications to the building over the course of 70 years had resulted in an increasingly compromised arrangement of spaces that had poor amenity and utility.
In 2010 the CSLSC appointed a Building Committee to catalogue a number of issues in consultation with the various stakeholders of the Club. The key issue was that the CSLSC needed more space, but over a confined building footprint it was not clear how this could be achieved. A report prepared by Council also indicated some fire safety issues that would need to be addressed in any refurbishment of the building. There were however a number of underlying problems that were not stated by either of these documents.
The CSLSC were curious to understand the possibilities of achieving their brief and approached Redshift for an initial consultation to determine what might be possible.
Inspecting the building for the first time in a meeting with the Building Committee Chair, a number of things became apparent:
- • The Club had originally been designed as a ‘men only’ institution yet women now represented close to 50% of the Club’s membership. Accordingly there were gender inequalities embedded in the building stemming from the building’s origins in spite of subsequent retrofitting of women’s facilities into the building.
- • The circulation of the building had been contorted by previous additions which in some cases imposed circumnavigation of the entire building to get beyond a wall within only metres of where you had started.
- • A number of different floor levels resulting from several additions would present some significant challenges to addressing contemporary fire safety requirements and disabled access.
- • The building’s original Ceremonial Hall – originally a grand two storey space with large windows to the outside was under-utilised and had become the least preferred social space in the building. Over time access to light and view had been almost completely extinguished by subsequent additions while another space of a poorer quality had replaced it as the social hub of the building simply because it had a view of the beach.
Within a few weeks an inventive proposal had been developed that addressed much of the CSLSC’s brief and unlocked the problems embedded over the course of the building’s 70 year history.
A critical ‘move’ was deceptively simple. A number of problems identified by the brief were unlocked by moving the two storey space of the Ceremonial Hall up one level in the building. This would allow several key issues to be addressed. it would:
- • Reinforce the social importance and character of the original Ceremonial Hall as the premier social space in the building, returning light, views and access to external areas from new windows and other openings – possible from its new elevated position.
- • Liberate valuable space for equitable amenities for men and women, disabled facilities, surf craft and life saving equipment at ground level;
- • Facilitate more rational circulation in the building, that would allow floor levels to align for disabled access, and with the addition of a lift, new stair and a ramp connect the building in an far more sensible and integrated manner; and,
- • Facilitate the reduction of function spaces from 3 ordinary spaces to 2 generous ones which would liberate further space in the building for valuable storage and equipment.
The initial consultation ultimately led to ongoing consultation with the CSLSC that resulted in a building project that more completely addressed the Club’s requirements, and opened a number of previously unidentified opportunities and projects procured by Sutherland Council to upgrade Cronulla Park and improve the Landscape adjoining the Club.