Natural curves soften the Mildura Rowing Club into its riverside landscape

On the banks of the beautiful Murray River, the Mildura Rowing Club has been a hub for social and sporting activities for more than 100 years.

In 2017, the iconic club was given a new lease on life, upgraded as part of the first stage of the Mildura Rural City Council’s Riverfront Redevelopment.

Architect Andrew Nairn, from Nairn Architecture, says the unique curved design for the redeveloped rowing club was to soften it into its waterside location.  “The original building was a very boxy style – it had a quite jarring look. I really wanted to use curves and a soft design to complement the river,” Andrew says.

He also wanted a natural, earthy look, leading to the selection of timber panels and Cemintel’s Barestone™ cladding to complement the existing materials. Cemintel Barestone’s 9mm compressed panels are prefinished, and are a lightweight cladding system that combines the look of raw cement with easy installation.

“We already had brick and timber and I wanted something to contrast with that. The Barestone has a very rustic look and fit the bill perfectly. It’s a really nice balance between all the materials.”

As well as providing plenty of ground-floor storage for the boats, the new building includes an upper-floor bar/function room and balcony for Mildura Rowing Club members and a ground floor café for visitors to enjoy.  Andrew says the most challenging part of the project was integrating the old with the new.

“I wanted to create a beautiful new building while keeping the original history that was there. We needed to keep its integrity while still giving it a modern, smart look,” he explains.  “We used certain products, including Barestone, to modernise the building and give it a nautical feel. The curved claw-like overhang cuts through the building to separate the different aspects and it also gives great sun protection.  When the doors are open to the club, the materials used give the space a lovely feel. It’s a very inviting and open environment.”

For the Mildura Rowing Club project, Barestone panels were used upstairs to wrap around the club rooms as well as for the columns near the café and at the back of the site.

“The natural concrete look is really clean and smart, and the panels are very cost effective and easy to install,” Andrew says.

Mildura Rowing Club President, Nigel Sullivan, says the new facilities are a huge opportunity to grow the club’s membership, as well as being a stand out building in the area.

“I think people really appreciate and are excited about the improvement overall because it’s now an area of town that we can be proud of,” Nigel says.

Architect Andrew says he’s impressed with the result of the materials selected and how they all came together.  “I’m really happy with the outcome of the project. Mildura now has the best rowing club on the river with beautiful spaces for the locals to enjoy. It’s a great view.”

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