While the Harbord Diggers was born during hard times and created by working class people, the club today is re-imagined as an ‘Intergenerational Community Hub’ to both broaden and deepen its relevance to today’s Northern Beaches community.
Project Name: Harbord Diggers Club
Studio name: Architectus, JMD design and CHROFI
Project size: 68000 m2
Site size: 15600 m2
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 8
Location: Sydney , Australia
Photography: Architectus, JMD design and CHROFI
A Stage 1 Master Plan prepared in 2012 by Architectus included deep consultation with club membership and community to guide the future development. The approved envelope established well-scaled edges to the surrounding streets while arranging the mixed-use program with active uses on the lower ground plane with quieter residential uses above. The design concealed much of the program within the contour of the land to control bulk and scale.
The Stage 2 design by Architectus + CHROFI + JMD design draws upon the attributes of traditional hilltop villages that are simultaneously coherent through their materiality, and complex, with each building and space within the village being unique. This approach allows the overall project to be singular – ‘The Diggers’ – whilst also, permits the complexity of the mixed-use program and site conditions to bring richness and interest to the project.
Sited on one of Sydney’s iconic headlands, the materiality is directly informed by the spectacular coastal sandstone formations and the native coastal landscape.
The site is structured around a central courtyard, an ocean terrace and a grid of public domain connections linking to the coast and nearby Freshwater Village. This vastly improves the permeability of the headland enabling thru-site connections in all directions and establishing the club as a key destination within the coastal walk network.
The seniors living village is organised around the courtyard with the club’s public facilities located beneath to avoid conflict between the residential and public areas.
A sunken ‘Palm Gully’ at the centre of the development anchors the legibility of the plan connecting all key public facilities while bringing light, air and lush greenery to the heart of the project.
The Carrington Parade and Evans Street edges respond to their streetscapes presenting as a collection of domestic scaled buildings.
To the north, the ne-grained qualities of the street edges give way to a much larger scaled response to the headland setting. The natural landscape is drawn across the development to amplify the scenic quality of the headland while taller feature buildings sit above as sculptural counterpoints with owing forms that frame coastal views from within. A civic scaled veranda merged into the contour of the headland frames aspect from the public areas to the ocean terrace and coast beyond.
The project instils a sense of remembrance through its use of
sandstone and with the integration of Jade Oakley’s sculpture at the club entry depicting the original diggers at their seaside location.
Collectively, the topography, the native landscape, the materiality and sculptural built-form, combine to bring new identity to this long standing community institution.