Australia is home to some of the best surfing in the world, but at least a few surfer-slash-designers aren't content to leave their city to find great waves — so they're proposing an urban "surf park" right in the Melbourne's harbour.
The idea for the Docklands Surf Park came from a group of young Melbourne architects who teamed up with the global engineering firm Arup to develop the idea. Their still-very-rough plan proposes building a park on the water in the city's Docklands neighbourhood, where the harbour actually makes its way in towards the city center. As such, very little actual wave action reaches the formerly industrial wharf, but architect Damian Rogers wants to take advantage of the urban location by creating artificial wave action.
"To surf in Melbourne normally requires you to get in the car and drive all the way down to Bell's Beach, and hour and a half away," says Phil Carter, an urban and transport planner at Arup, who imagines people being able to take the train to surf after work. "The convenience of just surfing in the docklands is something we thought was really interesting."
Rogers and Arup imagine a wave pool that functions much like other artificial surf parks — except it uses (filtered) ocean water and it floats in the harbour, next to a beach and an entertainment facility. According to The Age, the pool would create a 30m wide wave that would run the length of the 150m long enclosure.
Of course, this project is still very, very far from reality — it's still just a figment of Arup and Rogers' imaginations. Surfing mag Stab says that city officials have called the project "interesting":
Arup are seeking funding from developers and potential operators rather than the government, but Melbourne City Council and Places Victoria would still have to approve construction. Both organisations have met with Arup, and a council spokeswoman said it was an 'interesting concept' if private funding were available. City Of Melbourne have yet to officially back the project.
Even if the project never gets built, it's interesting to imagine a surf park as part of an urban downtown. And this is just one of a growing number of civic proposals that are attempting to make urban waterfronts more accessible — call it the Plus Pool effect. [The Age]