Henley Square Urban Design

The Theatre of the Beach celebrates the spectacle of the beach and breaks down the abrupt separation of Henley beach from the town’s public spaces. This project builds on the previous use of the site by enhancing elements like the pier, the beach and the grassed areas and introduces new elements such as the Sandpit and the Deployed Shade to deal with identified site issues, to transform site relationships. The theatre forms a broad accessible edge and threshold to the beach for everyone, whilst delivering a place of play, performance, spectacle and surveillance. Balancing gesture and microclimate, the theatre for the beach provides a dramatic place to watch the sun set over the water in the west, a show on the Pier or the opportunity to laze around enjoy the beach in comfort in the shade whilst keeping an eye on the kids, having a coffee.

The Town Square

A Town Square on Seaview Road maintains a civic space for Henley Square for people to congregate at community events such as local festivals and farmer’s markets, and provides a formal termination of Main Street, with views down to the Sandpit.

The Poles
Part sculpture, part infrastructure the Poles support the Deployable Shade and facilitate lights, play elements, communication and power, recalling the Henley pole sitters of old.

The Deployable Shade
The Deployable Shade manipulates shadow, in winter opening to sun and sky, and in summer protecting people on the Square and the Sandpit from the heat of the sun, an idea borrowed from Mediterranean towns.

The Urban Garden
Intricate planting beneath Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa) in the Urban Garden creates a shaded microclimate on the edge of the Town Square.

The Sandpit
The beach is central to the identity of the Square, yet Henley Square has been cut off from it. The Sandpit reinforces this identity, making play on the beach literally part of the square and covering it with Deployable Shade to allow constant activity.

The Pier
The Pier was the original Theatre of the Beach, a place to promenade, now lost to a bygone era. We reinvigorate this tradition by drawing the Pier back into the square, and making it a dramatic stage for the Sandpit.

The Bosque
A Bosque of Tuckeroo’s (Cupaniopsis anacardiodes) shades a peninsular that protrudes past the existing seawall, providing an opportunity to survey the beach and a forecourt to the Surf Club.

The Green
The grassed areas of Henley Square were popular with users and the Green continues this, allowing informal play and ball sports, strategically shaded with Monkey Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana).