Marks Park Amenities

Bidji and Gadi Country / Tamarama, NSW

2016 AIA NSW Public Architecture Award
2016 AIA NSW Small Project Architecture Award
2016 AIA NSW Sustainable Architecture Award – Shortlist

At the Bondi end of Sydney’s Coastal Walk, as the narrow track bends into the curving headlands, the grassy expanse of Marks Park and a coastal panorama from Bondi to Maroubra Beach unfolds at the top of the hill. This majestic stage has long been home to a bunkered barnacle of a public toilet, unarguably necessary as it was ugly. Too functional to demolish and start again, the task was to recycle the existing building and transform it into a building worthy of its spectacular location.

A deep veranda was added to the south-west face of the building to provide shelter from the oppressive afternoon sun and driving southerly rains, and to heighten the users’ awareness of place. The veranda – an intimately scaled space elevated from the surrounding park – allows universal access to the amenities and hosts precast concrete communal wash troughs. The rhythm of the timber posts from the veranda frames stunning views towards Tamarama surf break and the Waverley Cemetery.

Externally, the building has been wrapped in a skin of recycled hardwood posts, sourced from the demolition of the cavernous former Waverley Council Works Depot buildings at Zetland. These unify the form and gives rise to a play of textures and shadows throughout the day. The timber skin will weather naturally in the the harsh salt, sun and wind of the exposed headland, and settle over time into the muted silver tones of the nearby banksia scrub and sandstone escarpment.

The female and male amenities spaces were gutted, rationalised and re-planned to double the facility capacity. Robust materials of terrazzo and ceramic were chosen to remain beautiful with constant use and in the harshness of the elements. Judicious cuts into the original fabric inundate interior spaces with natural light and air. Natural light amplifies the warm hues of the shell-pink ceiling.




Sydney Morning Herald July 2-3, 2016
Architecture & Design May 12, 2016

Project Team

Sam Crawford, Imogene Tudor, Ken Warr, Ben Chan, Antonia Frey, Madeleine Rowe, Matthew Bolton, Chelsea Harper

with Sonia van de Haar, Lymesmith


Grindley Interiors


Project Manager – Complete Urban
Access & BCA – BCA Logic
Graphic Design – Deuce Design
Hydraulic Engineer – Jones Nicholson
Land Surveyor – RPS
Lighting and Electrical Engineer – Jones Nicholson
Quantity Surveyor – Altus Page Kirkland
Structural Engineer – Cantilever


Brett Boardman


Waverley Council