Architect dreams big for North Gong surf club

Author: Dominic Geiger
Date: 09/09/2013
Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Local News
A building to rival the Sydney Opera House might seem far fetched for the shores of Wollongong, but that hasn’t stopped an Illawarra architect dreaming big and urging other creative residents to do likewise.Andrew Conacher, of Borst and Conacher Architects, contacted the Illawarra Mercury following last Thursday’s story on the possibility of Wollongong City Council turning to private enterprise to rebuild the ailing North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club.Mr Conacher said a competition where residents submitted their own building designs could produce incredible results.A similar idea resulted in submissions for the construction of the Sydney Opera House in 1957.‘‘This is an iconic, heritage-listed location and I believe the city’s expectations following the refurbishment of the bathers’ pavilion will be high,’’ he said.‘‘I think the council should be a little bit more proactive and say ‘this is what the community wants to see there’, instead of saying ‘tell us what you want to build there’.’’Mr Conacher said the competition could be encouraged among artists’ groups, at schools and among other architects.‘‘I think it would really stimulate public imagination if it was done the right way,’’ he said.However, a council spokeswoman said it was not known if a competition could be held, given future plans for the building were being managed by the NSW Trade & Investment’s Crown Lands Division.‘‘Wollongong City Council, as trustee of the property, is just one of a number of stakeholders involved in considering plans for the future of the surf club,’’ she said.

‘‘As trustee, council will work with the Crown Lands Division to ensure any plans for the site have appropriate facilities for council’s lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers, as well as improved access for people with disabilities to North Wollongong Beach.’’

Architect Andrew Conacher wants the community to have a say on the North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club building.

Image by Illawarra Mercury 2013  

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