The Waterfront Shell Cove by

2022 Public Landscape / Australia / Built in 2021 /

Shell Cove is a new town centre on the NSW South Coast Australia.  The town centre and waterfront parklands establish an active and vibrant urban place with a relaxed coastal village character.

The town centre brings urban activity and retail uses right to the waterfront, connecting people to the water edge. The public domain connects from the main street, through the plaza to the 2km of waterfront parklands, and into the surrounding residential areas and connecting open space.

The emphasis of the public domain is to bring together different aspects of the civic life of the area; providing a forum which operates day and night, for locals and visitors to the area.

The challenge

To design the new development to create spaces that feel authentic and real, and also to attract a diverse mix of people to the town centre, encouraging them to stay.

The objective

To create a place that is successful as an urban and active centre, with an authentic pattern and mix of uses. To meet this objective, we saw it important to provide places for the wider community, the residents of the centre, as well as visitors alike.

The solution

The creation of a unique lifestyle that offers an experience for all that visit. We undertook investigation and review with regards to size, arrangement and diversity of open space in the town centre and waterfront.   The open spaces have been sized to cater for larger events and public gatherings, whilst being comfortable in size for day to day use.

At a detail level the public domain is designed for integration of informal and casual use with a diversity of terraces and parkland settings.

The waterfront parklands are currently partly implemented, with another 3ha yet to be built.  The parklands provide a connected linear open space, linking larger open spaces, boardwalks, play and fitness.  Importantly the parklands also connect to the adjacent new parks, streets and beach.

A benefit of the size of the project has been the ability to develop strategies for materials sourcing and selection.  Throughout the life of the project, the site soils have been stockpiled and ameliorated to be suitable for landscape use, avoiding the need for excessive importing of soils.  In addition, the adjacent quarry has been relied upon for sourcing stone for use in landscape and walling.

We have also been able to organise procurement of plants and advanced trees, which have been selected for coastal conditions.


As the first stage of the town centre and waterfront parklands has reached completion, the precinct is coming to life.

The diverse built form of the public domain provides differentiation in programming; with areas of open walkway and generous seating complemented by shaded grass terraces leading to the town centre beach.  The contiguous promenade around the waterfront provides an active trail linking to a number of park rest areas and niches to sit and gather.

A play trail which extends around the foreshore provides a series of play opportunities which encourages walking around the harbour edge and enhances the ‘child friendliness’ of the precinct.

As the precinct develops over the next few years, the waterfront precinct will become more diverse with the additional amenities of play spaces and additional parkland and linking wetlands.

Project Location: Cove Boulevarde The Waterfront Shell Cove, Australia

Design year: Master Plan development from 2013

Year Built: Stage 1 Completion 2021


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