Cottesloe Indiana

Category: Commercial, Hospitality

Location: Fremantle

Status: Competition Entry

Project Team:

Michael Patroni

Dimmity Walker

Tobias Busch

Julia Kaptein

Project Description:

The redevelopment of the Indiana site presents a rare opportunity to interface an urban context with a beachside waterfront, in contrast with the prevailing nature reserve or wilderness setting. Changes to the Cottesloe beachfront have paralleled changes in the social dynamic of West Australians over the past 100 years and have embodied the social aspirations of successive generations. There is a growing expectation that the Cottesloe beachfront will respond to current and future trends in lifestyle and recreation.

Our site analysis includes references to paintings by WA artist George Haynes as a lens through which to view the site that depicts a particular way of ‘seeing’ the qualities that are unique to the place; light and shade; relaxed, informal beach culture; ephemeral play of sunlight on water. These images are our design totems.

Our design proposal is a response to the iconic setting both physical and cultural, we propose a built form that is based on a study of the site section and invokes the poetic images and mythological narratives of the cave, ground, canopy and horizon.

Sensitive to the natural environment, we open our eyes to unique conditions of the site and the place, reading the place and embodying the physical and experiential qualities of the edge condition of our local coastline in the project. Sensitive to other cultures, we show respect for indigenous cultural connections to the area.

The design is a commitment to the future, with a sustainable strategy in consolidating the whole, high quality, built form program to one location on the beach thereby preserving the natural dune formations to the north, and protecting the indigenous heritage site to the south, while also avoiding ad hoc structures in the vicinity.

We have applied an integrated urban design strategy to reinforce Cottesloe’s identity as the iconic metropolitan beach of WA, with the Indiana as a nexus of the metropolitan beach, projecting its urban setting via a street level plaza from the street precinct of Marine Terrace through to beach front, as well as interconnecting the promenade and cycle paths from the north and south.

Our vision and aspiration is to create a recognisable symbol for Cottesloe – a building that is authentically and unmistakably of that place, projecting both pride and a sense of identity for Cottesloe. The design response that reflects the western edge condition, epitomised by the sun setting over the ocean. The building and landscape embody fluid forms derived from the ebb and flow of the surf on the sand. The playful, recreational nature of the beach experience is amplified in the form and materiality of the design. Organic forms, natural and iridescent colours found along the beach inform the design response from large scale moves to interior detail.

The building takes a unique and specific presence in the site and its broader setting.

The lower levels are embedded into the site and integrated with the existing terrain and terraces. The base mass is ‘eroded’ in a manner reminiscent of rocks eroded by water and the specific geology of the site, creating dramatic sheltered spaces at the lower levels.

The pool sits within the base levels on the sunny north side of the building, on its own terrace, midway between the boardwalk and plaza level to minimises fencing / safety barriers. The lane ends are orientated to the horizon for dramatic ocean views from infinity edge pool. Glazed portholes in the pool floor project watery light to the boardwalk area below.

The plaza level sprawls out beyond the site boundaries, incorporates the footpath and the road / slow zone, to facilitate a natural transition from the street level to beach as well as interconnecting the promenade and cycle paths from the north and south.

The upper levels, elevated above the plaza, are viewed as a ‘building in the round’, a sculptural form with a continuous skin, shaped to respond to various conditions on all sides without privileging any one elevation.

The continuous glazed façade has internal timber screens to control glare and reflect the west setting sun, while also creating layered and textured interior spaces.

The north/west elevation is influenced by the pool pushing into the site and the opportunity to open up to north sun; The south elevation responds to the view of Mudurup rocks and also acts as a wind barrier to the strong sea breezes; The east elevation addresses the street and is scooped out along to the tree line to create a sense of welcome and invitation.

Cottesloe Beach and the Indiana Teahouse are iconic places that create memories for many locals and tourists. Our approach is to retell these treasured memories by weaving environmental and human narratives through the landscape of the site. The environmental narratives are drawn from the dunal landscape system of the area, which are ocean waves eroding sand though time. With this approach, spaces are carved out of the landscape and architecture, creating a seamless form that people can inhabit. The prominent visual element becomes the elevated building and pool, forming a landmark headland. It rises over the boardwalk that dissolves into a stepped seating edge. The descent to the beach creates moments to reconnect with memories and to celebrate immeasurable qualities such as watching the sunset, listening to birds and feeling the relief of the Freo Doctor. The wealth of memories that are embedded at Cottesloe Beach require a delicate and thoughtful design response that captures the multi-layered and rich fabric of the place. We hope people will discover their own narrative in our design.

We identify several opportunities for integrated public art within proposal. A site-specific texture/pattern of light & shadow derived from a George Haynes artwork is etched into the boardwalk concrete. Inspired by David Hockney’s famous painted pool at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, a commissioned art work for the pool floor may be possible given it’s visual prominence in the space.

An opportunity to consider the connection between the surrounding landscape and its Aboriginal history by framing the view of Mudurup rocks via a diachronic coloured glass screen on the roof top space, where the rocks are viewed from a high vantage point, through the lens of shifting colour and could incorporate a narrative / interpretive component.

At the plaza and boardwalk levels, opportunities exist for lighting installation / projection onto sand / water / rocks.