Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club: Sustainable Surf Lifesaving Hub

Designed by the renowned Wood Marsh Architecture, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club in Australia captures the rugged essence of the country’s sandstone coastline. Positioned within the dunes, this club building features a unique blend of horizontality and verticality, with a control tower standing as a coastal beacon. The design, driven by a robust and weathered approach to materiality, seamlessly integrates the structure into its natural surroundings, creating a gathering place for the community.

Modern building with wooden exterior situated on a hillside overlooking a coastal town.
A rectangular, black metal building with a surfboard-toting person entering through the large doorway.
Elegant outdoor dining terrace with modern furniture, glass panels, and sweeping views.
Striking modern building with wooden facades, bold geometric shapes, and a sweeping staircase.
Curved wooden facade overlooking a green landscape and ocean. Glass walls and patio.
A modern, curved wooden structure with expansive glass walls overlooking a scenic view.
Striking modern wooden building with large windows and steps leading to the entrance.
Striking coastal building with wooden facade and balanced architectural elements.
A modern wooden structure overlooking a coastal pathway and sandy beach.
A modern, multi-level building nestled in a coastal landscape, featuring a wooden exterior and distinctive architectural elements.

About Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club

Nestled along Australia’s rugged coastline, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club is a testament to the power of design. Crafted by the talented team at Wood Marsh Architecture, this project seamlessly blends into its surroundings, taking inspiration from the region’s iconic sandstone formations.

Robust Resilience, Weathered Elegance

The club’s form and materials evoke a sense of weathered resilience. The ‘dune’ and ‘stack’ components create a striking visual contrast, with the horizontal club building blending into the landscape and the vertical control tower standing as a prominent landmark. Each element appears to have been softened by years of exposure to the elements, embodying the essence of the coastal environment.

Thoughtful Integration with the Landscape

Positioned delicately within the site, the expanded program was carefully divided across two levels. The lower level, discretely tucked into the slope, serves as a sturdy podium housing essential functions, including the patrol room, first aid room, change rooms, and storage. Meanwhile, the upper level floats amidst the coastal vegetation, directing the social aspects of the club, such as the café and bar, towards the breathtaking views of Bass Strait.

A Beacon in the Storm

The control tower stands as a distinct feature, like a protruding rock formation, strategically positioned to provide optimal oversight of the beach and shelter volunteers from harsh weather conditions. This outpost serves as a coastal beacon, guiding visitors and acting as a landmark for the community.

Materiality and Form: A Weathered Elegance

The design is driven by a robust and weathered approach to materiality, utilizing natural timber, dark metal, concrete, and glass. Echoing the connection to the ocean and eroded dunes, the building features deliberate curves that allow shadows to bleed around the corners, softening any harsh contours.

A Community Gathering Place

Replacing the previous structure, the significant rebuilding works have enabled the holistic reworking of the center’s functionality, fostering Ocean Grove SLSC’s position as a gathering place for the community. The layered operational brief provides various configurations for hosting a wide range of functions, catering to the club’s comprehensive surf lifesaving program and the needs of the local community.

A Harmonious Integration

Ultimately, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club is an intentionally unobtrusive design that seamlessly connects to the site, landscape, and community. It subtly establishes a place where people come together, united by their shared appreciation for the breathtaking coastal environment.

Photography by Mengzhu Jiang
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- by Matt Watts