Keast Park foreshore landscape development

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In 2004, landscape company Site Office completed a comprehensive master plan for Keast Park, a 2.5 ha public park at the northern end of the Seaford foreshore on Port Phillip Bay.

Site Office led a multi-disciplinary project team consisting of architects, ecologists, economists, artists and recreational planners – exploring ways to synthesise the underlying ecology of the sensitive foreshore environment.

Considerations included the functional requirements of a public park and accommodation of a bowls club, sea scouts, public toilets and change facilities, a multi-purpose community space and a small cafe. 

The success of the project was the communication of the design ideas and achievement of widespread support for the master plan in an otherwise fractious community environment.

Architect: Jackson Clement Burrows; Site Office

Client: Seaford, Melbourne


Jackson Clements Borrows’ (JCB) architectural concept for the main Keast Park building continues the timber theme of the Robert Simeoni Architects designed Seaford Life Saving Club just up the road. JCB have also referenced simple beach style buildings of earlier times.

The first stage of works arising from the master plan was completed in 2011, including: a new community pavilion (to house toilets, the bowls club, sea scouts, a community room and cafe), car parking and the landscape connection to the foreshore and beach.

The project explores the integration and overlap of multiple community facilities and activities, promoting a stronger sense of community ownership and engagement. Keast Park illustrates the importance of innovative, broad-reaching master planning, active community engagement, detailed design and the need to develop flexible staging plans implementable over a longer time.

This project skilfully integrates a wide range of community facilities into the ‘park’ experience.  Combining multiple functions into one footprint is spatially efficient and encourages positive interaction between different sections of the community.

Everything is structured around a public timber deck that links different functions within the site. It winds beneath the raised building, providing a strong physical and visual connection between the bowling greens to the north and the park to the south.

Previously separate park elements, in the new design park users are encouraged to engage with the bowls club as part of their daily experience of the site. Integration with other of other coastally dependent activities is also improved.

Most people who frequent Keast Park do so to access the beach or foreshore reserve.  As such, it is the experience of the water, the beach and the dune landscape that people primarily seek.  The beauty of those landscapes is that movement is never direct – it is a dynamic experience with subtle yet constant changes in space, light, material and orientation. 

Thus, the landscape master plan emphasises the experience of walking through the dunescape – on a site where the primary dune has been largely destroyed over time.

The project includes significant plantings of banksia trees, reflecting the woodland that once occupied the site. The connection is forged by a winding and undulating timber deck and fence that are like a shadow of the former primary dune – reflective of the organic nature of the dune and coastal environment. 

The dune protection fence provides a windbreak against the prevailing southwesterly, with bench seating attached to the lee side of the fence. The fence also provides protection to the reinstated primary dune – made possible by removing several structures (including the old pavilion and toilet block) that had previously been built within the fragile primary dune zone.

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