Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club

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With surf clubs playing such a vital role in coastal life, we needed a design and a process that was genuinely embraced by the community.

With surf clubs playing such a vital role in coastal life, we needed a design and a process that was genuinely embraced by the community.

Life on the Northern Beaches is characterised by a strong surf, beach and sports culture and a deep affinity for the land and seascape.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches is an area with a distinct local identity, deeply tied to its physical surroundings. Surf lifesaving clubs play a central role in community life, providing social gathering places as well as beach rescue and safety education facilities.

In designing a new facility for the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club, we knew that community buy-in and ownership of the project would be vital. The new building needed to meet all the practical requirements, be flexible for a wide range of uses and be a focus for community pride.

Our solution was a world-class but genuinely local design that redefines the concept of a traditional lifesaving club. It provides a focal point for beachgoers of all backgrounds and engages the wider community with new social spaces.

Our proposal was unified around the idea of connection, both social and physical. The building is designed to draw people in, and to feel inclusive and accessible to a broad cross-section of locals.

Facilities are family-friendly, with spaces and amenities to cater to all generations of lifesavers, from nippers in training to retirees. Particular consideration was given to welcoming migrant communities, who are a principal target for water safety campaigns.

The building is open and active on all sides, with a cafe at ground level and sightlines through to the water, linking park and beach. Materials including timber and textured raw concrete were chosen to reflect the natural environment and withstand exposure to the elements.

Elevated glass pavilions house a restaurant, lounge bar and function room, angled to capture the spectacular views and outstanding natural beauty of beach, headlands and park.

To ensure that the needs of users were kept front and centre, we held public consultation meetings with the Council, and engaged closely with a community working group throughout.

We undertook a detailed use analysis of the inner workings of the club to optimise operational efficiencies.

Our design found many ways to increase the value of the building and maximise revenue opportunities. The functional space was doubled almost within the footprint of the previous structure. We established an ROI value case for new revenue streams, including cafe and restaurant tenancies and flexible function spaces for private hire. Sustainable design elements serve to minimise water and energy use and long-term maintenance requirements.

As a part of the beach overhaul and update, a public amenities block was designed to be included within the Club’s building. Council later decided in favour of a new block in the location of the existing tired facilities adjacent to the popular rock pool. This new block was also to include a lifeguard facility to work in tandem with the club and cover the area of the pool.

These beautiful buildings have exceeded all stakeholder expectations in its scope to boost membership revenue, secure the club’s future and create an enduring legacy for the community.


  • Surf lifesaving facilities
  • Large storage areas
  • Workshop area
  • Public toilets and change rooms
  • Cafe
  • Restaurant
  • Function room
  • Members’ bar and lounge
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Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club
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Amenities Block
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Amenities Block
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