Surf Life Saving South Australia
West Beach, South Australia
Surf life saving centre, two buildings for SLSSA, the storage area (Stage 1) for life crafts and main communication room and the second (Stage 2) the operations building.

Surf Life Saving South Australia’s (SLSSA) primary mission is to save lives and build better, healthier communities. Other values focus on learning, education, health & safety as well as environmental health, and are achieved through a collaborate approach. SLSSA relies heavily on volunteers and sponsorship to provide their service.

From these principles, the overarching philosophy expressed through the built form was ‘awareness’. The design focused on this by developing a strong form situated high on the site looking over the community as a protecting beacon. The traditional colours of SLS were introduced to the design in red wings, with subtle yellow sunshade blades on the East and West windows. The design achieved ‘awareness’ by being easily recognizable when passing, given its proximity to a major boat ramp, this is a great reminder for recreational water users.

Education is a primary function of the design. SLSSA provides CPR, First Aid and Surf Rescue Courses to the community at the ground floor with three individual training rooms that have the ability to open into one for larger functions and fundraising activities. These function spaces are linked to a commercial kitchen and north-facing timber deck, giving SLSSA a secondary form of income to assist in funding major projects. This large function space also allows for state and national SLS events such as the recent 2012 World Life Saving Championships.

The project comprises of two very important buildings for SLSSA, the first (Stage 1) being the storage area for life rafts and the main communication room and the second (Stage 2) being the operations building for all SLSSA staff.

The site is located close to the beach, requiring attention to detail of the materials used and the location of openings. The relationship of the building with the beach reinforces the valuable contribution the SLSSA provide to our community. The site falls away to the North, allowing a clear view of the northern façade – fostering additional awareness through the use of iconic graphics on this façade.

The project incorporated a number of sub-consultants who provided their services at a discounted price. LCS landscapes provided a cost-effective solution by supplying the vegetation at cost. Graphic design for window film signage and core ten entry sign where provided by a member of the association for a greatly reduced cost.

A large challenge during construction was the unknown minor pollutants in the soil that needed to be disposed at a cost of over $100 000. The project team negotiated with council and adjoining property owner to store the soil adjacent the site for the construction period, then re-use the soil under hard-stand areas.