The concept of waterway pools has recently become increasingly popular around the world. Projects in waterways within Berlin, Paris and Zurich have already been developed, and plans are currently in progress for facilities in New York and London. With luck Melbourne will join these programs.
The Yarra Pool concept has been developed by Studio Octopi at the invitation of Yarra Swim Co. With previous experience in public waterway schemes, having developed the plans for a cluster of freshwater swimming pools on the River Thames in London, Studio Octopi are well suited to the task.
"Our vision is to have Melbournians talk about our river differently," said Matt Stewart from Yarra Swim Co. "To be proud of the Yarra, and to see it as an active place of nature, recreation and play."
The proposal for the scheme includes a 25m lap pool complimented by a smaller children’s play-pool, both of which sit within a landscaped floating pontoon. The design displays spectacular views of Melbourne’s CBD from the water and surrounding decks and includes a pavilion housing a ticket office, changing facilities and a café.
The pools natural tidal patterns will cleanse the water together with a locally developed technological filtering solution to enable safe swimming throughout the year. The filtering technology has a patent pending, and further testing of its suitability to the scheme will be carried out this year.
Despite still being just a concept, preliminary discussions are underway between Yarra Swim Co and a number of key stakeholders including authorities and potential sponsors. A pop-up version of the scheme is currently being developed that could enable a possible trial to be conducted as early as next summer.
"The Yarra Pool is an exciting project that talks to a wider conversation globally around access to urban waterways," claimed Studio Octopi's Chris Romer-Lee.
The Yarra River project will be included in a book published to accompany the Australian presentation at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The Australian pavilion explores the history of the swimming pool and its role in Australian society.