Addington beach node forms part of the Durban beachfront redevelopment program and responds to the spirit and design aims of the larger urban scheme. In addition, the building in this context needed to respond to questions relating to the absence of quality public open space in the area, to the need to define the family nature of the beach, and to create a sense of place for both residents and visitors.
The building is seen as a landscape intervention, which redefines the urban edge and its relationship to the beach. The creation of a functional public space was a primary design driver. The building is located as far north as possible on the narrowing site to provide reasonable distance from the uShaka Node. The building mediates between the one storey level change between road and promenade, across the narrow site
The new facilities include public ablutions, municipal lifeguard facilities and storage, Marine Surf Lifesaving clubhouse and storage, beachfront management facilities and a new restaurant facility. Each of these elements has their own ablution facilities.
The challenge was to distribute the accommodation along a spine, which allowed the articulation of public space with a civic nature. The bulk of the accommodation is craft storage for duty boats and surf skis. This storage together with the extensive ablution facilities are located below ground and accessed by an underground roadway. This strategy enables the public facilities to provide the public interface; public toilets open to the promenade, clubhouse facilities enjoy elevated views over the beachfront, and the restaurant presides over the southern portion. As the primary custodians of beach culture the lifeguard tower and beach office are central and prominent.
Two courtyards articulate the building and provide relief from the line of the promenade; they also frame the different functions of the building and help connect the road level and the promenade level. The duty courtyard relates to lifeguard functions; the cleaning and servicing of boats, quadbikes and rubberducks. The recreational courtyard is given over to the washdown of surfski and is the theatre for recreation events.
Landscaped lawns and elements of dune planting roll over the underground accommodation linking north to south. In this way the building both defines and is defined by the landscape.
The desire to include a public artwork at Addington Node was realised in the elements of glazed brick. The need for the artwork to withstand climatic and public abuse led to the decision to investigate the almost lost technique of glazing bricks. Working in collaboration with artist Clare Clark the image and texture of the coral tree flower was interpreted into the pixilated module of the brick, glazed in a local industrial kiln, and built into the fabric of the building. (ref additional info below)
The fabric of the building is robust but refined. Structure and details are conceived to withstand the extreme climatic conditions and the wear and tear of public use. It is important that the building and its envelope are able to change and adapt readily to future requirements. The building was delivered within a tight budget thanks to the intention to make the design appropriate to readily available technologies and skills.
We believe the building makes a solid contribution to the public realm, providing a new home and focus of identity for Addington Beach and its visitors.
Winner of the KZNIA Architectural Award of Merit : 2011