Mixed Reactions to Suttons Beach Pavilion Rebuild Plans

Suttons Beach Pavilion
Photo Credit: lahznimmo architects/Instagram

Concept designs for the new Suttons Beach Pavilion have drawn mixed reactions from residents, with some locals calling for the community to have the deciding vote.

Design Competition and Selection

Because of the need to replace the iconic pavilion, which was beyond repair and subsequently demolished, a competition was held, run by professional advisors CityLab and endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

The competition attracted 116 registrations of interest. Initially, 25 stage one entries were considered, then narrowed down to a shortlist of three. 

The winning design, by lahznimmo architects with Plummer & Smith, was selected unanimously by a panel of five experts, including Queensland Government Architect Leah Lang.

Suttons Beach Pavilion
Photo Credit:  lahznimmo architects/Instagram

Mayor Peter Flannery expressed his excitement about the winning design, highlighting its potential to provide residents and visitors with a thoughtfully designed multi-purpose building and a refreshed park area for future generations. 

Ms Lang praised the design for its deep understanding of the site’s historical and cultural significance. She noted that the design integrates these elements into its architecture and landscaping, creating a space that bolsters commercial viability, accessibility, social connections, and a versatile landscape for everyday activities and events.

lahznimmo architects’ Director Annabel Lahz shared that her team aimed to create a contemporary pavilion that acknowledges the history of Suttons Beach without merely replicating the original. The design includes various features aimed at enhancing the community space, such as indoor dining, outdoor seating, public amenities, and areas for events or art installations.

Community Reactions

Despite the expert approval, the Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group, which had opposed the demolition, gave the new design qualified support.

A spokesperson from the group described the new concept as a “good start” but expressed disappointment over the lack of more prominent art deco features. He emphasised the importance of capturing the pavilion’s past while meeting modern needs and maintaining economic viability for businesses in the area.

Public reactions on social media have been varied. One local suggested that designs should be put forward for the people to decide, a sentiment echoed by her neighbours, who stated that the Council needs to listen to the community and develop a design that truly reflects the spirit of Suttons Beach. 

Suttons Beach Pavilion
Photo Credit:  lahznimmo architects/Instagram

Another resident appreciated the beachy and summery concept, likening it to Palm Springs, and praised the covered walkway extension. In contrast, yet another resident criticised the design, calling it terrible and expressing hope that it would improve with the addition of trees.

Some community members likewise raised concerns about the lack of shelter for hot summer days and lamented the design’s failure to pay tribute to the original structure. Others suggested a design more akin to an island village and found the lack of an art deco look and sun protection disappointing.

However, another individual found the design stunning, calling it the facelift Redcliffe needs.

Project Background and Funding

The former Suttons Beach Pavilion, which first opened in the 1930s as change rooms and a kiosk, was an iconic landmark on the Redcliffe Peninsula.

However, it was not heritage-listed and had been expanded and sections rebuilt over the decades. Major building defects and concerns led to its demolition, costing $1.94 million. The overall project, including demolition and rebuild, is estimated at $19 million, with $11.33 million secured from the SEQ Liveability Fund.

Suttons Beach Pavilion
Photo Credit:  lahznimmo architects/Instagram

Council investigations in January 2022 revealed the extent of the building defects, leading to the decision to demolish the structures. This decision prompted a grassroots community campaign lobbying the council to restore or rebuild the pavilion.

Mayor Peter Flannery expressed his excitement about the progress around the new mixed-use facility at Suttons Beach and emphasized the importance of revitalising the area.

Cr Karl Winchester described the project as a unique opportunity to return this iconic destination to community use and allow a new generation to enjoy it anew. Council is looking forward to engaging the successful candidates to deliver more detailed building designs for this beloved foreshore location.

As demolition concludes and design development progresses, the community awaits the final version of the new Suttons Beach Pavilion, hoping it will balance modern needs with historical significance.

Published 20-June-2024