Often tucked behind sand dunes or sitting tired on top of a vast car park, many surf life-saving clubs across Australia fail to capitalise on the natural beauty of their locations. But the elevated glass pavilions designed by architects Warren and Mahoney for Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club on the beaches north of Sydney buck this trend. Here, the three new structures, which house a restaurant, bar and function room on the top level, are smartly positioned to ensure that those inside can enjoy views along the coast. It’s a theme that continues on the ground level too – where the life-saver facilities are located – with a public café that enjoys sightlines to the beach. “So many locals have commented on how it fits into the surrounding landscape – and it looks fantastic from the water too,” says club president Paula Tocquer.
And while the client is happy with the natural outlook, the architects were keen to ensure that the building’s materiality responded to the terrain too. “Timber and textured raw concrete were chosen to reflect the natural environment,” says Warren and Mahoney’s Sven Ollmann. “We wanted them to work with, as well as resist where necessary, the harsh coastal environment.” The outcome is a structure that visually enhances its location, whether you’re looking at it or from it.