25/09/2015 - 13:38

Christou undaunted by beachfront debate

25/09/2015 - 13:38

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The architect behind the City Beach Surf Club redevelopment says the quality of the work will surprise many who have reservations about such projects.

Christou undaunted by beachfront  debate
Christou Design Group founder James Christou. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The architect behind the City Beach Surf Club redevelopment says the quality of the work will surprise many who have reservations about such projects.

Coastal development can be a tricky proposition, but the architect behind the $17.7 million redevelopment of City Beach Surf Club says public scrutiny of projects can be a good thing.

Christou Design Group founder James Christou said the City Beach development, which is being built by Georgiou Group and comprises three restaurants and a new surf club, would likely be completed by the end of October and handed over to tenants for fit-out works, ultimately opening by mid-summer in January.

Mr Christou said the project had flown under the radar of many Perth residents, who would likely be surprised by its quality once open.

“The offering there in terms of the presence on the beach, the public space in the green roof of the surf club and the commercial offering, the way it actually sits in the dune, it’s going to be quite spectacular,” Mr Christou told Business News.

“We can’t wait for it to finish.”

Christou Design Group is also working at another iconic Perth beach, with the architecture firm engaged by the City of Stirling for design works on the $26 million Scarborough Beach ocean pool.

The state government made further steps earlier this week for the $57 million revitalisation of the Scarborough beachfront, launching the process to find an architect to design for a new surf club, and naming an international consortium for foreshore improvements.

Mr Christou’s firm was selected ahead of eight other applicants last May for the ocean pool project.

Mr Christou said he was excited to be involved in the projects, notwithstanding the high level of public debate over the appropriateness of development along Perth’s popular beaches.

“I started my career on coastal developments, Sorrento Quay, Mindarie Quay, the East Perth inlet,” Mr Christou said.

“I find you can actually undertake coastal development as long as you are very sensitive to the public’s requirements and needs.

“I think we proved that with Sorrento Quay and Mindarie Quay and the East Perth inlet. When we first put forward the idea of an inlet there were 380 people in the room objecting to it, and that’s become a major landscape component of the city.”

Christou Design Group recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation in Perth, having been founded in early September 1985.

Mr Christou said the biggest change over that time was a greater appreciation of design across all levels of society, an appreciation he said made architects’ jobs easier, particularly on prominent projects.

“It’s right across the board in every field of architecture, whether it’s commercial facilities, recreational or retail, there is a higher expectation of quality and a higher expectation of design,” he said.

“People appreciate design and how it contributes to their lifestyle.”

 

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