Jack Evans Boat Harbour by Aspect Studio’s, in Tweed Heads
Tweed-Heads and Coolangatta are twin towns on either side of the border and Tweed suffers a bit from this, being the top of NSW, while Coolangatta is part of the Gold Coast. There is a diagonal line cutting through the ton, with a one hour time difference on either side. The site took me by surprise because it was water opposite a beach, I mean, that’s what a harbour is, but which was was way was facing out messed with my compass initially. I suppose its called Tweed HEADS for a reason. The Harbour is quite nice and intimate and the park is too, with lots of length but not much width.
It has a lot of bits along that length and a colleague has suggested that perhaps there might be too much difference along it and when I think back, I can see that is true but that’s not what it felt like when I was there. Perhaps more so I feel like there were many places to get into the water but only a couple where I would want to, both of these on the concrete step structures on each point. These were definitely Isthmus/Wellington like moments, but that stuff doesn’t worry me - if one worries too much about innovation you can get stuck in running after novelty. They were the right thing to do, regardless of who did them first. These ones are much more extensive than the ones in Wellington and somehow more Brutalist. The main entry to the park is perhaps the most problematic bit, with some nasty service action front of house (despite what I understand was a big service relocation budget) and somehow the entry wall screens from the wrong direction (you would never look out from the site back, but always toward the water). At the centre is a timber deck running into the water that is being under-cut, but that’s not the issue - it feels weird to have a timber deck running into the water, at least of this finer quasi-domestic scale, something more marine and massive might have worked better, or perhaps just more concrete.
Along the two sides are some nice moments, particularly toward the left where a long stone edge continues straight along the water, and there is a nice disabled water entry with some carefully placed rock work. For my tastes some of the handrails are a bit stainless for me (I am so over stainless) with some spiky detail where the rail meets the post that is a bit 90’s somehow, seeming more, I dunno, corporate or something, than this community site would need. The planting throughout seemed nice and the use of cotton trees, Hibiscus tileaceus, will be lovely when they grow.
In the big picture this is a nice little project that will contribute much to the site and the community, and will still probably be the best public landscape project in the Gold Coast Qld/NNSW area.. a welcome change from surf-board seats and glitzy pattern.