Bondi Beach is easily Australia’s most iconic beach. The Bondi Pavilion is a renowned and functionally diverse heritage building, which the Mayor of Waverley Council Sally Betts has called the second of third most iconic building in the country. However, this important community building has become dilapidated over recent years and is thus set to receive a whopping $16 million upgrade to be carried out over the next ten years. The highly sought over project was secured by local architecture firm, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. We spoke to the director of the successful architecture firm, Peter Tonkin to find out more about how they will approach the esteemed renovation project.
Peter Tonkin believes his firm beat the many other bids for the project as Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects have “…a very good track record with creative adaptive reuse of heritage buildings.”
He also thinks their local knowledge and understanding of community wants and needs gave them a distinct advantage. TZG Architects have worked on the Darlinghurst Eternity Playhouse and Paddington Reservoir Gardens, both of which are also located in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.
“We’ve worked with local council on a very high level on the Bondi master plan so we’re aware of the broader issues around Bondi Beach and how it might develop in the future. Living in Sydney helps you develop a relationship with Bondi because everybody goes there.”
Satisfying community needs is one of the main focuses of the refurbishment, making it a key point of consideration for the architects.
“There are a lot of stakeholders within the users of the building at the moment and council’s very interested in expanding and intensifying the use of the building so it works a bit harder for the community as a community asset. We’ll be talking to the resident theatre company, the tenants and users of the arts and creative side of the building. We’ll also cast the net a bit wider to see what other new accommodation we can fit there,” exclaimed Tonkin.
One of the most important aspects of the project is maintaining the heritage value of the building while also bringing in modern architecture. Tonkin believes the best way to achieve this is to have a very careful and measured approach.
“The first stage is ensuring the building is appropriate to the kind of spaces, grain and texture of the building. We work very hard to put the right spaces in the right places so that it doesn’t conflict with the heritage. That creates a platform that you can work off very creatively.
“The second stage to it is making a clear distinction between the heritage architecture and the new work. We’re very interested in the creative friction that you often get between old and new so the two live side by side so you don’t conceal the new and make it cold and you don’t try and update the old, you give them both their own breathing space.”
The $16 million will initially be focused on repair, then move towards improving the building’s functionality.
“We need to address some major issues with the building in terms of the degradation of the fabric over time. There’ll be a fair bit of money spent repairing it, ensuring the building has contemporary standards of servicing and conditioning, and disabled access. The money left over will go towards providing new facilities for the community.”
Tonkin added: “I’ve personally been an admirer of its existing architecture for a long time, it’s a very fine building. It doesn’t need a new element to brand it, it just needs its existing presence to work better.”
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