The Terrace: Ocean Grove Main Street

The Terrace: Ocean Grove Main Street Re-Development
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LOCATION: Ocean Grove Victoria, Australia
CLIENT: City of Greater Geelong
CCAA National Public Domain Award
AILA Award for Civic Design

Ocean Grove is known as a surfing and tourist town, not far from Australia’s famous Bell’s Beach. Its main shopping street, “The Terrace,” had become run-down and needed a facelift.  Community revitalization would enable the main street to compete with newer strip malls and hold its own against other neighboring tourist and shopping destinations. Core to the brief, prepared by the traders and Council, was to create twenty additional on-street car spaces and provide a design streetscape solution for the existing awkward level changes that occurred along the main sidewalks. One request from the traders was to minimize the use of curbs due to the location of a large supermarket on the street which generated extensive use of shopping carts.

The solution offered was to completely reconstruct the street section. The central camber of the road was removed and a single cross fall for the new curb-less street was developed, using strip drains to capture run-off. The entire shopping area, after years of level changes and use of steps to handle grade changes, became fully accessible. The reconfiguration of the street and associated sidewalks created thirty new car spaces. The other major change was to replace the 1960’s one-way traffic pattern with a new two-way street. Using a series of new roundabouts and signalization at several of the streets leading into the main street enabled this new traffic pattern, a major structural change for the community.

The local traders, Town Council and residents strongly supported a playful coastal beach theme. Without curbs, a cast iron “surfboard fin” bollard was developed by one of the local surfboard shapers and used throughout the project to delineate the street from the sidewalk. The entire main street area became a civic space. It could be closed for major events and function as a large outdoor gathering and festival area. The sidewalks were constructed from pre-cast concrete pavers in rose and sandstone tones selected by the locals to represent the coastal cliffs found on the Surf Coast. The pre-cast paving also allowed pedestrians to hear when a skateboard was approaching from the rear. Norfolk Island Pines, used as street trees, were selected for their strong coastal character and historic association with region.

The project received the CCAA National Public Domain Award and the AILA Victorian Chapter Award for Civic Design.