alexander &CO’s burleigh pavilion

Think Australian social life has to be about ramshackle bars, barbies, beer and beach bums – think again!

Commercial Interior Design, Art, Garden + Terrace, Gastronomy, Lifestyle, Restaurant + Bar, Travel.

The story of an iconic Australian Coastal Pavilion at Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia.

Australia with its vast, sun drenched coastline and surf spots is built around a vibrant beach culture. Ocean-front pavilions, originally built to provide shelter and amenity to bathers and surfers who flocked to the beaches when the ban on daytime ocean bathing was lifted in 1903, are of great historic, architectural and design importance.

The Burleigh Pavilion at Burleigh Heads on Australia’s Gold Coast is a metropolitan area south of Brisbane in Queensland is one such iconic beach ‘Pavilion’ structure.

This important ocean-facing building with its panoramic views of the world-renowned surfing point break is historically significant, originally an indigenous meeting area but soon became a popular beach location. As the original pavilions were built to serve ocean-bathers, it was fitting that it was built on top of a 1950s swimming pool.

Sydney-based architectural practice Alexander &CO. was commissioned to renovate and expand the ramshackle and dilapidating structure. The design had to be a robust and easily maintained multipurpose venue that would have dual-purpose appeal to guests walking straight off the beach and those enjoying a smart lunch or dinner.

Built upon the rock, the works also had to withstand storm surges and at resist flooding.

The resolution was a 1200sqm venue; robust, sun-drenched and faded. A study in scale and simplicity.

Divided into three spaces; an a la carte restaurant (‘The Tropic’), a coastal brasserie (‘The Pavilion’) and a main outdoor beach bar.

The client’s brief called to memories of his childhood spent holidaying in Burleigh Heads; echoes of 70’s Gold Coast beach nostalgia.

The project explores a design both elegant and enduring. Beautiful volumes and architectural shapes are accented with faded pastels, corbeled clockwork and bold awnings. These materials were selected for not only their aesthetic value but their unique ability to withstand heavy wear from the elements.

Outside, the building envelope gently reveals itself from behind a fenestrated entry elevation and under a great concrete canopy. Two palm trees and extruded metal letters announce its presence. A hint of its retro DNA is seen in circular breeze block whilst tropical gardens flank the entry doors.

Inside, a large central open kitchen with two pizza ovens and a fire pit pushes patrons toward an ever-reaching view where various furnishings encourage them to eat, stand and drink. It is a hive of gastronomic energy built within a curving masonry arbor, a nod to past pavilion structures once dotted up and down the coast.

From this kitchen, the three portions of the venue radiate; an unobstructed 50-meter expanse of oceanfront view looks North to the Gold Coast and South to the Burleigh beach point break.

The Tropic restaurant marks itself clearly with its rattan ceiling, crazy paved floor and pink and brass highlights. A coastal brasserie; this is the sexy older sister to the main beach bar and Pavilion terrace bar.

The Pavilion bar to the south is an open expanse with painted concrete block detailing and ample seating. High bar seating cascades down to the tiled window nooks which perch over the water’s edge.

The main beach bar has in scale and simplicity what the Tropic has in detail and intimacy. It is a vast open volume with expressed structures, views in every direction and robust energy underneath an umbrella canopy.

Through its careful restoration, the Burleigh Pavilion has reinvigorated the headland, community engagement, and local amenity; offering patrons of all demographics a place to gather, celebrate and enjoy the abundance of the Burleigh Heads horizon.

V2Com. Photographer: Anson Smart

About Alexander &CO.

Alexander &CO. is a Sydney based 20+ team with a curiosity and passion to take on diverse, multifaceted projects and the skills and experience to move with versatility through architecture, interiors, styling, visualisation, furniture making, project management, and branding.

Finding the spirit and truth of each place through craftsmanship, innovation, and timelessness is at the core of everything they do. They make timeless, beautiful spaces for those who care deeply and are driven to inspire their clients and the global village.

The Practice is recognised consistently in numerous Australian and international award programs including; Practice of the Year in the IDEA Awards, Australia’s longest-running interior design awards. Principal, Jeremy Bull was named Interior Designer of the Year 2018 at the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards, one of the most recognizable design awards in Australia.

Internationally, the practice won Frame’s 2018 Hospitality Restaurant of the Year, and the overall Restaurant of the Year category in the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards.

Recent shortlists include Frame and Dezeen’s Emerging Designer of the Year and the Surface Travel Awards.