St Kilda Beach was once home to distinctive swimming-friendly structures such as seabaths and jetties. The last of these, the eccentric little Brookes Jetty, was demolished in 2015 in the face of community protest.
Supported by the City of Port Phillip, local citizens and business groups believe a clever new jetty will restore the beach’s character and encourage people back into the water.
To this end a design ideas competition for a replacement for Brookes Jetty was inaugurated in 2019. The $5000 Leighton Prize drew a remarkable 106 entries from Australia and internationally.
State Architect Jill Garner presented the $5,000 Leighton Award for an elegant blade-shaped jetty to Joao Sousa and Joana Silva, JJs Arquitectura, Porto, Portugal.
The proposal aims to unite recreational, cultural, economic and ecological functions within a coherent composition that reinstates Brookes Jetty as a significant civic space and injects the site with new urban vitality. The scheme explores the opportunity to design a structure inspired by the fluid geometries of the coast. The new jetty operates, both visually and functionally, as a smooth transition between land and sea, a coastal formation that mediates between solid and liquid.
The structure evolves from a single walkway configuration into an Aquatic Plaza that reactivates its civic function and creates new opportunities for leisure, sports and recreation. The overall design is informed by the marine environment, evoking the organic shapes of waves, fishes or boat keels. Conceptually, the design proposes to capture an incoming wave, frozen in time and crystalized into a gentle topography. The “wave” stands as an expressive juxtaposition of curved slabs, and activates a two-sided amphitheater. The slabs are aligned with the north-south axis, emphasizing the relationship with the rising sun (over St. Kilda beach) and setting sun (over Port Phillip Bay). The sloped structure protects visitors from the dominant winds.