Rockingham is a coastal town centre and tourist destination in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Directly offshore is Australia’s largest naval fleet and submarine base, Garden Island.

Following the completion of the Rockingham Foreshore Master Plan (2015) Place Laboratory was commissioned to develop the detailed design for three key public realm spaces on the Rockingham foreshore including the upgrade of the main street Railway Terrace, converting a carpark into pedestrian plaza, and widening its waterfront promenade.

The project required working with a wide range of stakeholders including residents, traders, state government and the local government. Establishing a common vision early in the process, allowed the team to navigate through conflicting interests. Extensive community consultation and place activation planning have been used to inform the design of Beach Plaza, a new high performance public square, that together with the redevelopment of the foreshore promenade and historic Railway Terrace to create a new civic heart and tourism destination for Rockingham.

The design team worked with the community to understand the natural and cultural character of the site and develop a place activation plan and design narrative to enhance and extend the unique characteristics inherent to the site. The design seeks to connect the city to the sea, create a place of celebration with a relaxed character that is young at heart.

The beachside location of Rockingham Foreshore has provided a wealth of stories. A key focus has been to capture the sense of colour, fun and playfulness to improve the sociability of the promenade and beach front. During early research, we discovered some historical photos of the life on the beach. The vibrant beach activities and colourful beach umbrellas have inspired the colour and furniture palette.

With the impact of climate change and sea level rise, the need for integrating environmental strategy into landscape architecture solutions, implemented at all scales, has become ever so important. Rockingham Foreshore Revitalisation is underpinned by strategies responding to the rising sea level. The seawall was redesigned to integrate the coastal protection function and public recreational needs, including the seating terraces and large sweeping lawn. Locally native coastal plants were used to regenerate the dune ecosystem, provide precious urban habitat for wildlife and mitigate dune erosion.

Project category: Public Project
Role of the entrant in the project: Project Lead
Project location: 1/1 Rockingham Beach Rd, Western Australia
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2017


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