Where Perth in Western Australia meets the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, the Scarborough Beach precinct has long been a treasured beachside destination for locals and tourists alike. From an early morning surf to watching a spectacular sunset that farewells the Australian day, Scarborough is an established icon and expression of WA urban beach culture.

Global Design & Architecture Design Awards 2021
Second Award | Category: Urban Design (Built)

Project Name: Scarborough Foreshore
Project Category: Urban Design – Built
Studio Name: TCL
Design Team: Scott Adams, Lucas Dean, Jonathan Chan
Area: 9.9ha
Year: 2018
Location: Perth, Australia
Consultants: Collaboration with UDLA, TRCB, ARUP, ENLOCUS and Development WA
Photography Credits: Dion Robeson, Douglas Mark Black
Text Credits: TCL

TCL | Scarborough Foreshore - Sheet4
Dion Robeson, Douglas Mark Black©

This project transformed a previously disconnected and carpark-dominated beachfront into one of Australia’s most iconic urban beach experiences: a precinct focused on health, fitness and celebration.

Our team recognised from an early stage in the project evaluation that this intervention would not be the last and therefore adopted a more fluid approach to dealing with the site’s spatial values and by adhering to an over-arching principle of – ‘It’s all about the beach.’

The site is approximately 1km-long and 100m-wide running north-south with unhindered views across the Indian Ocean.

The project outcomes of have been achieved by six key moves:

TCL | Scarborough Foreshore - Sheet5
Dion Robeson, Douglas Mark Black©
  1. Create The Scarborough Esplanade – The Esplanade is the key interface between Scarborough beach and the urban edge.  Designed as a low speed, pedestrian-focused precinct to manage cars and cyclists with a new promenade containing tree plantings, WSUD garden beds and pedestrian crossing points as a positive safe pedestrian experience for beach access.
  2. Activate the Esplanade A series of new facilities, including a public swimming pool and programs create a vibrant public realm.
  3. Form Scarborough’s Heart – The centre of the precinct is a new highly programmable civic centre, Scarborough Square, which forms the foreshore’s vibrant heart. In a collaboration between TRCB Architects and local Aboriginal Noongar artist Sharon Egan, the vibrant red and yellow structures frame and shade this lively
  4. The Promenades – Prior to revitalization, continuous north- south movement for pedestrians along the Scarborough Foreshore was impossible. Creating the Upper and Lower Promenades was critical to building a connected public realm. The two promenades run parallel the full length of the site north-south, and therefore define the levels and spaces for the proposed activation and future developments on the foreshore.
  5. Activate the Promenades – Within these two promenades is a series of activity nodes providing a range of experiences. These include:
  • a playground inspired by the local Aboriginal Whadjuk/Noongar story of whales returning spirits of past relatives’ home
  • the Sunset Hill, a simple grassed mound that affords excellent views of the beach, the sunset and distance views north and south
  • ‘the Snake Pit’ – an active precinct that includes an international competition level skate bowl, bouldering structures, half basketball court, toilets, and street skate areas.
  • two development hubs for future retail , the new Surf Life Saving Club and Beach Pool.

6.Link the Promenades to the beach – A series of new ramps and stairs provide simple, more universally accessible direct access to the beach.

TCL | Scarborough Foreshore - Sheet6
Dion Robeson, Douglas Mark Black©

The project serves as an example of how tired urban waterfronts can be transformed into multi-layered all season urban destinations promoting health and wellbeing.