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Collaboration and nature inspire bespoke new shade system – Strata™ – for Waverley Council

Few outdoor locations are more celebrated than Bondi Beach. So, when we received the news recently we’d been appointed to work on another major project at Australia’s most famous beach, it was a tremendous source of pride. Coming off the back of an award-winning shade project for Waverley Council in 2017, the new brief is part of a wider shared zone/streetscape upgrade along Notts Avenue at the southern end of Bondi Beach, not far from Bondi Icebergs and the start of the hugely popular Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.

This time our involvement centres around the design and installation of a bespoke new shade shelter system called Strata™. Being developed with our full DesignExecute2™ delivery process in collaboration with the lead design contractors, Tract Consultants, the new system has been created specifically for the Notts Avenue site. Highly durable and cost-effective, its form and name are inspired by the distinctive layers of sedimentary rock, or strata, found in the surrounding cliffs at Bondi.

Planning began in early April with the aim of having the entire project completed by the time the warmer weather returns later in the year (by which time hopefully the current social distancing restrictions are also long behind us). To explore a little more about this high profile coastal project, I recently sat down with James O’Dwyer, Senior Landscape Architect at Tract Consultants. Below is an edited transcript of what he had to say…

ADRIAN TRIMMER (FLEETWOOD URBAN): Thanks for your time, James. Can we start by talking about your objectives for the Notts Avenue shared zone?

JAMES O’DWYER (TRACT CONSULTANTS): Overlooking Bondi Beach, and as part of the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, the site at Notts Avenue hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, most of them on foot. Being delivered for Waverley Council, the project seeks to transform Notts Avenue into an attractive, safe, and accessible pedestrian-focussed shared space which celebrates its iconic clifftop location and breathtaking views across Bondi and the Tasman Sea.

AT: An entirely new shelter system, Strata™, is a central part the solution at Notts Avenue. How did that come about?

JOD: We’d already developed a design concept for what we were looking for in the new shelter. Realising it was the next challenge. We approached Fleetwood with an eye to utilising your practical experience in engineering and high quality fabrication in order to document and deliver it in the real world. Strata™ is the result.

Notts Avenue Strata™ Shelter: At a glance

– Distinctive ‘rock strata’ roof patterning
– 316 Stainless Steel – electropolished to inhibit ‘tea staining’
– Aluminium perforated roof panels (non-corrosive)
– Stainless steel columns painted with Dulux Weathermax protective coating
– Fabricated support posts with completely hidden welds
– Concealed electrical connections
– Bespoke footings to meet site-specific challenges including high winds, uncontrolled fill and rock beds that are 7 metres below the surface.

AT: How would you describe the overall design vision?

JOD: For the design team at Tract Consultants – which included my colleagues Matthew Easton and Linda Hoang – we were really looking to respond to the site’s inherent natural beauty – particularly the fractured sandstone geology – and its dramatic cliffs and boulders. These themes are subtly reflected through the design of the furniture and the selection of materials, with the intent being to harmonise rather than compete with the views and setting.

AT: Can you recall your main reasons for choosing Fleetwood for the shade shelter component at Notts Avenue?

JOD: Your team had already established a good working relationship with the client (Waverley Council), having previously fabricated a series of shelters at adjacent Bondi Park. For us, it was  very important the client had confidence in the ability of our manufacturer to fabricate a high quality shelter structure given its central position within the new landscape at Notts Avenue, so choosing Fleetwood made complete sense.

AT: We’ve been using our DesignExecute2™ delivery process to drive the project. How are you finding it?

JOD: The design process has been relatively straightforward. Your team took our initial sketches and concept model, and translated them into a resolved 3D model. The resulting high quality rendered images really helped communicate the design and materiality of the shelter to the client and our other stakeholders. Updates to the design were also able to be effectively conveyed in the rendered outputs, which has been important to keep the project on track.

AT: Now things are well underway, how confident are you and Waverley Council about achieving your desired outcome with Fleetwood?

JOD: We are quite confident, especially given the quality and finish of other Fleetwood produced items, and the time you’ve taken to develop and refine the initial designs. It’s been very impressive.

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