Image for International Acclaim for Bicheno Boathouse

*Pic: Image from HERE where there are more piccies of the award-winning building

Bicheno is featuring on the world map today after the town’s new surf club and boathouse was recognised in the International Architecture Awards 2015.

Designed by Launceston’s Birrelli Architecture, the building received third prize in the award’s sports and recreation category.

The project began with a quest to find a new home for the Bicheno Nippers, the junior surf life saving club, with a limited budget.

Rather than construct an all-new building, Birrelli used a 40-year-old neglected toilet block as a key part of the design, and created a centre that incorporates upgraded public amenities in addition to the surf club and boathouse.

Paul Berkemeir, past president of the Australian Institute of Architects, said the result was a “unique and beautiful timber structure” that showed “real intelligence in solving a problem but then creating much more”.

The Bicheno community is justly very proud of the new surf club and boathouse, and the international accolade is a great credit to all involved, particularly Birrelli.

It just shows the talent we have in Tasmania for functional designs that complement our unique natural scenery.

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ALL that could have been ... reprise to Bob Hawkins’ account of the pre-dawn demolition of a favourite building in Franklin on the orders of Huon Valley council in March 2009 ...

Outrage at Franklin

Excerpt ...

They are the kind of forces that are taking advantage of a disturbing apathy of spirit endemic in stressed 21st century communities worldwide, even though occasional happenings suggest a latent sense of place and heritage lingers in most of us. Joni Mitchell’s sad song a couple of decades back sums it up: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

The couthlessness that one senses about the Huon Valley Council was never so palpable as when, last Thursday, I got the tragic news that, soon after dawn that day, the Franklin Oval’s historic football clubrooms had been razed (under the protective watch of police). That the bulldozer moved in at about first light suggests at least troubled consciences on the part of the prime movers of this betrayal of the trust of the folk of Franklin and the municipality as a whole.

Only 16 days previously, the Huon Valley Council, with just one dissenting vote, had passed a motion to demolish the clubrooms. (I am not aware of any serious community consultation about the fate of the clubrooms prior to the council’s February meeting apart from talk with a couple of sporting bodies.) The motion included the rider that the demolition would be done “subject to obtaining the statutory approvals for this action”. (Wow! Who ever heard of obtaining one statutory approval in 16 days, let alone the plurality of approvals the council’s successful motion acknowledged were required. No doubt the council will be able to explain this extraordinarily bureaucratic triumph.)

News that the demolition was imminent had been revealed a few days earlier by a council press release that accused this solid old building — built in the 1950s and scene of many triumphs and lamentations — of being a danger to the public. In the press release, the mayor was quoted as saying, among others things, that its trusses were rotten (even though they were steel) and that the public should not be endangered by bits of roofing flying about. (At the February council meeting, a “background report” said that, “on 22 January 2009, a large section of the roof blew off, with sheets of iron landing on the oval and the boat ramp where there was a large number of people gathered”, and this was repeated in the council press release. This was a claim some locals would still dispute; and there are those who will categorically deny that any roofing at all blew off the building on that windy day. They say that when roofing on one corner started to flap it was tied down until council workers arrived to secure it.)