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Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club


Neeson Murcutt Architects


O'Donnell and Hanlon


Products Used:

Classic Ceramics - Ceramica Vogue

Building Contractor:

O'Donnell and Hanlon

Photography Credits:

Brett Boardman

Crescent Head is a small beachside town 400 kilometres north of Sydney. It is an iconic surfing and fishing reserve. The new surf club replaces an existing building that was seriously dilapidated. Maintaining the existing perpetual Crown lease, the new building sits wholly within the footprint of the old.

The building is designed “in the round,” with a pitched roof and cut-away walls that produce a unique appearance on each side, reinforced by colour. The roof generates volume to encompass a function space upstairs.

Materials selection was critical due to the surfside location – durable brick and tile were used. A beachy, sparkly skin in soft pipi-shell pastels wraps the building form. This is achieved using polychromatic glazed bricks. Specified percentages of white, vanilla, stein grey, wheat and aqua create tonal blends that vary across the facades according to orientation.

Four large openings address aspects of the remarkable location: beachfront, headland, township and creek. Openings elsewhere are
treated as part of the building skin and set behind brick screens.

The roof is in membraned ply, over-clad with glazed ceramic tiles on a Nulok fixing system. The tiles are colour-matched to the bricks
to create a unified building.

"The designers approached the concept of the roof in a new, invigorating way, using tiles in a complex colour palette to provide a durable solution that reference the beachside setting."
- Jury 2017 -