Category Archives: 2013_Challenge_Entries

Scroll down to see all of the finalists to the 2013 SHAC Surf Living Tower Challenge. Let us know which ones you like, or leave a comment by clicking on the speech bubble.

XRoad [2013-52]

A lifeguard tower that is simple, functional and mobile. In its mobile state it functions as a boat trailer, which can easily be erected into a structurally safe lifeguard tower with good view. This gives the design a greater value both for business and private use. It is fully mobile and therefore can be transported during the off season to undergo maintenance and repairs.
The structure evolves around a hollow rectangular shaped aluminium structure used for aircraft construction. It will have tires and regulation standard lights for its mobile, boat trailer, state. Foldable seats will act as a cushion when traveling with a boat. Two people can erect the structure, and access is with small but adequate step/grip handles which will be on both sides of the structure as fixtures to the main structure. Sun shelter will be achieved with collapsible sunroof, which is easy in transportation. Since the structure is made of hollow aluminium material, it is possible to store both water and fuel in it for on beach supply.
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ThreeSixty [2013-29]

This curvaceous, sub consent surf lifesaving tower is designed through several iterations to maximise its 360o views. This design is able to cater for all surf lifesaving requirements including an inside area, desk space, storage, multiple viewing levels and easy access. Its future uses could include being used as a platform to provide seating areas and shelter for people.
This surf lifesaving tower could be constructed using recycled materials such as pre-cut culverts and wooden panels. The base cylinder goes 1.5 metres into the sand providing support to hold up the whole tower. Flexible strips of material are used on the back of the doorway so it can be easily folded and opened. The thicker concrete cylinders are hollowed out so they are less expensive and can be used as storage areas.
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Tripod [2013-26]

This easy to build surf tower, constructed with timber will provide for an elevated platform for lifeguards to keep an eye on the beach. Its angular form is based on the repitition of triangles which create a sense of movement and energy. It is a simple structure that fillfils its purpose effectively.
TheTripod-2013-26 PDF

The Pod [2013-19]

The Pod is an environmental solution for a life guard tower.
It features

  • a timber frame to elevate it
  • an aluminum frame
  • layered recycled paper cladding
  • waterproofing heat shrink membrane.

This would be a low cost structure and engage the community by involving them in the completion of the layered paper cladding. Its elliptical shape is reminiscent of an eye, watching out over the beach during the day and closing up at night time. Its large seating area comfortably allows for at least 3 lifeguards, and the storage of equipment inside which is locked up at night. Entry and exit is by a removable ladder, taken to and from The Pod daily. The ladder would feature railings so a guard can slide down and exit The Pod quickly in an emergency. Its futuristic design could completely alter the image of surf life saving in New Zealand.


ThePod-2013-19-A3 PDF

Pallet Tower [2013-34]

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By using the modules of a standard NZ pallet (1200mmX1000mmX140mm) you could simply join the modules with bolts, screws, plates, angled brackets, T brackets, nails, and strip braces. Structural uplift is minimized by placing sand bags on the sub-platform compartment. Lateral instability would be resolved by the use of strip braces across selected module-combinations. The cantilevered storage area is secured as the module combination adheres to the 2/3 structural principle, plus the assistance of angled brackets. Essentially, the structure is strong due to the combination of turns and low centre of gravity. It is easily buildable due to the simple (and re-usable) joinery and its simple modular methodology.ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3_pdf_Page_1-small ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3_pdf_Page_2-small ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3 PDF

Suspense [2013-23]

Elevation, Accessibility, Awareness.

Accessibility to ensure lifeguards get on and off the lifeguard tower as fast as possible in an emergency situation. The design allows for quick elevation to heights where you can view far into the distance. The platform allows the lifeguard to keep watch over the beach it is also at a height of which you can jump off safely.

The structure is also very abstract in the way its designed, this achieves awareness not only for the lifeguards in the tower but to beach goers and surfers alike, recognition of the lifeguard tower is very important as a means of locating a lost child or keeping an idea where you are in the water.

The tower is to be made of recycled materials such as, recycled floorboards for the timber, recycled piped for supporting structure. And recycled sails or old vinyl signage for the shading system.


Suspense-2013-23 PDF

Surf life saving tower and bouldering cave [2013-33]

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The aim of this project was to embody the essence of what it takes to be a life guard. Observation, Strength, and Endurance. To utilize the often wasted and forgotten space under the observation tower we have incorporated a recreational bouldering facility into our design. This also provides a suitable shaded area for emergencies and an excellent strength training facility for the life guards. The best thing a lifeguard can do is talk to the public on safety and keep them informed on beach conditions. Whilst this space encourages recreational use and the interaction between life guards and the public, we have separated it from the most important service of the life guard tower which is observation. The angle and projection of the walls on the tower and open roof immediately force the lifeguards to look out over the beach and onto the ocean. We have also made careful considerations for services and lockable storage facilities.
Surf life saving tower and Recreational bouldering cave-2013-33-A3 PDF

Subconsent Surf Life Saving Tower [2013-42]

Our design was inspired by the yellow pages tree house. It has the ability to support its own structure with its domed shape. The lifeguard tower will be constructed from Douglas fir wood because of its durability. strength. and flexibility.

The interior floors will be plywood. Laminated glass will be used for the main windows for its high strength along with wooden joinery for weather tight capacity.

The functionality of our structure focuses on communication and observation by having two separate heights it helps the lifeguards. giving them a wider view when searching for any signs of danger.

There is a short distance between the two towers to ensure quick communication..
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SHAC-2013-42-A3 PDF

Saver Trailer [2013-11]

The Saver Trailer, an innovative mobile lifesaving tower, which focuses on mobility – along and between beaches. The viewing platform, two and a half metres high, is erected, becoming an enclosed or open platform.

A simple pull/push movement of the middle aluminium pole erects and supports the tower which collapses down for transporting/storing. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) clear blinds protect from the rain and wind without compromising observation, while sunny days the attached shaded material protects the guards from sunrays, these can also be rolled up, to any height, to allow air flow.

One side of the trailer folds out to create two solid rope ladders and a canvas slide for a quick descent and access to the tower, while the back folds down to create access to the storage within the trailer that holds chilly binned water and a possible changing room for the lifeguard’s.
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Portabell Tower [2013-38]

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The key design need is for the unit to sit off the ground. My design sits 2m above the ground, is portable, and can be anchored to the ground using metal cables and KELTY sand pegs. The unit has a waterproof covering, red and yellow which gives the unit identity and transparent for vision of beach when inside the tower. The unit has a small ratchet mechanism allowing for the transparent covering to fold up and down, beneficial for scenarios where there may be a breeze or rain.

Construction methods for A-frame include mortise and tenon joins which are strong as the wood interlocks. Intended material for the A-frame is 100x50mm Macrocarpa. For the units flooring I intend to use H3 treated ply, 21mm thick.

Other uses for this design include: portable cabins for campground accommodation, backyard shelters, or community garden shelters.
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Outreach [2013-20]


The lifeguard tower was designed with function in mind. The completed design features a 360 degree view,  which is created by hinged system. This hinge system allows the life guards to adjust their view and shelter according to the surrounding conditions. For example, the front panel can be lowered to block the rising sun similar to the idea behind a car visor. The structure is secured as these panels can be lowered and closed. Once this is done, the ladder can be removed – preventing access from the public. The visual contrast between the look of the tower when it is opened and closed, allows the public to see from long distances whether or not the tower is occupied. Overall, this lifeguard tower will provide exceptional view of its surroundings. Not only is it functional it would act as a visual landmark for the beach. Outreach-2013-20-A3



Pisces [2013-43]


This mobile lifesaving tower is inspired by a fish’s geometry. Its panoramic observation platform maximises view and the frontal slides ensure no vital seconds are wasted when lifeguards respond to those in need.
The tower’s ease of mobility enables it to be assembled and transported by one person.
The Pisces tower is made of light weight fibre glass. Constructed first, galvanised steel framing is used to strengthen and adds weight, while increasing the anchorage and durability of the overall structure. A dense polystyrene layer is inserted in between the voids of the steel frame to create a surface for the application of fibre glass.
The top section is solely made of polystyrene and fibre glass of which is connected by external hinges. When opened into place, it is held by “staple-like locks” on the side. The platform extensions slide in and out and functions as a lock for the entire structure.

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Lifetower [2013-36]

LIFETOWER-2013-36-A3_pdf-smallThe proposed lifeguard tower breaks down the barrier between the community and the lifeguard with its communal deck allowing easy communication. It provides covered secure storage for any first aid and other vital equipment

A 2.5m high observation deck has unobstructed view stretching out along the shore line. It provides the best vantage point for any emergencies and is a beacon for the public.
The agile ply flooring and galvanized poles enable the tower to be transported, carried, and constructed together with ease, while still allowing it to be considered a sub consent structure.

The tower will be supplied with wind/solar power, providing power to the fridge, allowing cold water bottles.

The tower could have an array of future purposes such as becoming a public observation deck and a shelter, or even a seasonal refreshment stall.


Lifeguard Tower [2013-24]

LIFEGUARD TOWER-2013-24-IMAGE_pdf copy-smallUsing geometric figure,triangle,incorporated with ‘sails’ that is a symbol of Auckland to express our idea about this project.This tower has three floors. The first floor includes a room for communication and an emergency place; the second floor is mainly used for observation by Lifeguards;the top floor has broader horizon and it can be used as a command post in case of emergency. A ladder connects three floors.We think bamboo is perfect material, cost effective, organic and Eco friendly.

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Life Guard Tower [2013-22]



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Eagle Eye [2013-32]


Our two main objectives in the design process were security and functionality, whilst keeping it simplistic. To keep it secure we implemented an overnight stairway locking system. For functionality we relied on the flow of the design to match that of the movement of life guards. There are several reasons why our tower does not need building consent. The tower does not have a roof, but a retractable canvas awning. It is not a living space. All walking surfaces are contained by hand railing. The top platform remains under 10m2. No major excavation needed because this is a temporary structure.

The tower has a 10m central support pile as the load bearing element of the design. Half of the pile is screwed into the sand while the remainder is exposed for fixing to. 8 rotatable stairs make up the access route to the top cantilevered viewing platform. All of the tower elements have been designed to be fully collapsable for efficient relocation and portability.

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Curvey Life Tower [2013-27]


The project was created to design a structure to help lifeguards perform their duties. The objective for our design was to provide maximum vision for the lifeguards, to have protection from the sun and wind, and ensure the life-saving tower fits its environment with the use of reusable materials.

The outside planks are attached to the base and the joists
beneath the platform. The long planks of wood, when fitted
to the base and platform, form the outside shell of the
tower for protection from the wind and the sun. These planks
also provide enough strength to bear the load of the
platform. The platform is clad with decking timber. The
stairway starts directly at the front of the tower, rotating
around to the opposite side of the platform, effectively
twisting around the tower. The roof is screwed in at the
tops of the long planks, covering half the platform space.CurvyLifeTower-2013-27-A3_pdf_Page_1-small CurvyLifeTower-2013-27-A3_pdf_Page_2-small  CurvyLifeTower-2013-27-A3

Crate [2013-12]

CRATE-2013-12-image-smallCRATE provides for use as a seasonal life saving tower, which also serves as a safe storage space when not in use. The design revolves primarily around its capacity to be compactible and efficient where all the functions required for the job are facilitated by the structure itself. It also has been designed in such a way that it does not require council consent to be built.

We propose this design to be a prefabricated structure that can be lifted onto the desired site where it can then reside till the end of the season. Fabricated from a series of locally sourced recycled timber, the CRATE comes as a two part system; consisting of a base and a top box which lifts up from the base through a crank system when in use and dropped back down when not in use, thus creating a completely enclosed and secure storage ‘crate’.


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Clamshell [2013-40]


“Our design was inspired by the beach and nature. We took the basic form from a clam shell, with its rough exterior and soft interior. Our tower is a fixed observation tower. It has enough space for 3 or more life guards and is 1.8m from the sand making it safe to jump from in emergencies. The construction of our Tower will include a timber frame and C frames for the curve. Corrugated iron and recycled timber decking will be laid straight onto the frame work. There is also the opportunity for solar panels on the roof to supply power and a tank system to collect water from the roof if needed. In off season or in future the tower could be used for a variety of sporting and music events”

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BrollieTower [2013-13]


This project is to design a sub consent lifeguard tower for the Sustainable Habitat Challenge of 2013. The purpose of our tower is allowing the ability for lifeguards to observe and monitor their designated area of the beach from an elevated platform. The long lifespan of the specified materials means it can be used for many years into the future as a life guard tower or for an adapted purpose.

The structural frame of the tower will be a prism shape made from tubular steel bent into form.
The platform will be constructed of hardwood or treated timber. The platform is partly cantilevered on the tower frame while also connected and supported via support beams and a tension cable.
The umbrella will be attached at the peak of the steel frame. It will be built of durable weather resistant fabric supported by light weight steel webbing. It will be coloured in the alternating colours of Surf Life Saving New Zealand (red and yellow).
The rails and stairs will be a combination of steel and timber in a ship like form.

The trailer bar and wheels will be attached via conventional trailer standards including a jockey wheel. The jockey wheel can also be used to level the tower on an uneven beach.
All connections and construction are built in accordance with NZS3604.2011 and engineers specifications where applicable. Sustainable materials include the recycled timber decking and/or hand-railing.

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Moana o te Kaitiaki | The Guardian of the Sea [2013-15]

Inspired by Maori folklore, Moana O Te Kaitiaki (“Guardian of the Sea”) or The Fish Hook of Maui is the design solution proposed for the SHAC lifeguard post competition.

The proposed design makes use of laminated plywood by separating the frames. This creates an open structure that appreciates and blurs the thresholds between the physical planes.
The fish hook, while integrated into the design, builds up the traditional Maori concept. By taking advantage of both its aesthetic and functional capabilities, it makes a structure that appreciates the landscape and provides an appropriate environment for lifeguards.
The structure is a seasonal addition assembled as a kit set and can be disassembled for easy storage.
The cantilevered shelter will be covered in fabric to retain the structure’s connection to its context. This also provides a suitable and comfortable post for lifeguard duties. Wood boards will cover the floor and the desk space.

BRNC-2013-15-A3 PDF

Save 360

SHAC-2013-44-smallProviding Surf Life Guards with…
* 360 degree Panoramic view of the beach
* 3 Access ways for quick exit
* Easy communication between surf life guard and the public
* 9 lockable sliding walls for weather and vandalism protection

The timber used is radiata pine H3.2 SG8, treated and stained
Prefabricated slide – Aluminium
Engineered tension/compression system
SHS posts

Connect stairs and slides to the sides of the base structure
Ensure stairs are facing away from the beach
Connect the tension/compression system to the slides
and staircase from centre of base structure
Connect posts to base, connect roof to posts
Install tracks and panels
Connect barriers to remaining sides

SHAC-2013-44 PDF

SHAC-2013-44-Building Acts PDF