Before his career as an architect took off, Damian Rogers spent a lot of time surfing. Now, thinking about his own work-life balance, he’s come up with a bold and radical plan to transform a disused part of Melbourne’s Docklands area into a hi-tech surf beach.
Rogers is pushing to build a wave park opposite Etihad stadium. It would feature a sand beach, rooftop parkland, a heated saltwater pool that floats in the harbour, generating a wave up to 1.5m high – its height can be controlled – rolling for 160 metres onto a beach. When the wave is turned off, it’s just a big pool to swim in.
The architect has been working with design and engineering firm Arup – responsible for the “bird’s nest” stadium at Beijing, and most famously, the Sydney Opera House – to develop the $8-plus million concept. After releasing details over the weekend, he’s already been approached by a number of investors wanting to know more.
Rogers is thinking big. With the famed Bells Beach 90 minutes from the city centre, his project would be the first time a wave park has been built in an urban area (the one in Dubai is a 2-hour drive out of town). He’s working with Surfing Victoria to ensure the wave is big enough to use in professional surf tournaments.
The Docklands area has been undergoing major urban renewal over the past decade, with a mix of high density residential and business projects being developed but as visitors to the area know, it lacks character and needs a central reference point.
Rogers said as he explored where to put their concept water park, Docklands became an obvious choice.
“Accessibility is the great thing about the project,” Rogers told Business Insider. “Melbourne needs the opportunity to embrace the water. It’s not just just about the wave, it’s about a public space and the obvious way to create a park in the Docklands is to embrace the water.”
That means you could duck down from the office during your lunch break for a surf.
“A lot of corporations want to tap into that work/life balance,” Rogers said. “I know what surfing did for me in terms of my life balance and now I would like to bring that to the people of Melbourne.”
So far there have been informal talks with the City of Melbourne council about the idea. The council’s made no commitments of support but said in a statement that “it was an interesting concept, if private funding were available for the infrastructure”.
For now, Rogers is keen to get feedback on his idea. You can leave it here.
Watch Roger and Monica Hatcher from Arup explain the concept below:
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