Sam Crawford Architects was engaged by the Parramatta Park Trust in 2018 to redesign the Park café at “Little Coogee”, on the banks of the Parramatta River, after the existing building was damaged by fire in 2016.
Parramatta Park is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. It is one of eleven sites that form the ‘Australian Convict Sites’ World Heritage listing, and contains the oldest remaining public building, and oldest remaining workers cottage in Australia.
The new building includes a café and public amenities and will be built entirely within the shell of the old, so as to recycle existing fabric and avoid potential disturbance of significant Aboriginal and early European artefacts.
Open and welcoming, the building has large areas of steel framed windows which provide ample natural light and clear views of the park and river. A restaurant entry portal will provide a visual link through the building to the river.
As principal design consultant, SCA co-ordinated a full assessment of the existing services and provided detailed design and documentation for this sensitive project.
The outcome will be a contemporary building that that connects park visitors with the river and extraordinary landscape setting.
The area that we now know as Parramatta is part of the lands of the Darug people who referred to the area as Burramatta (“Burra” meaning eel and “matta” meaning creek), and the people who lived in the area called themselves the Burramatta. The site of the café and surrounding area is rich in artefacts evidencing thousands of years of Aboriginal habitation and remains of high cultural value to the local Darug people.
“Little Coogee” became a bathing spot popular with Europeans by the 1880s. Though the current building dates from the 1980s, it is built on the site of dressing sheds dating from circa 1912, when the prohibition of public bathing was lifted and was used by bathers until the 1970s.
ArchitectureAU, August 2019
Sam Crawford, Louisa Gee, Ken Warr, Allen Huang, Caitlin Condon
Structural Engineer: Partridge
Hydraulic Engineer: InLine Hydraulic Services
Mechanical Engineer: Evolved Engineering
Electrical Engineer: Lighting, Art + Science
Landscape: McGregor Coxall
Section J Consultant: BCA Energy
Quantity Surveyor: Z & L Consulting
PCA: Anthony Protas Consulting
Interior Designer: Hot Black
Wayne Finucane, Virtual Vision
Parramatta Park & Western Sydney Parklands Trusts