A jury of leading Australian architects unanimously picked a scheme that integrates the aquatic centre with a new park and sports field, providing a venue for locals designed as much for relaxing as for active swimming.
At the heart of the aquatic centre is a 50 metre, heated outdoor pool set within a larger, irregular shaped “beach pool” providing generous space for lap swimmers and for people playing in the water – allowing all users to enjoy themselves uninterrupted
The new complex will cater for all parts of the diverse Green Square community, and includes:
- A 25 metre indoor “program pool” where swimming lessons will be provided. At four times the size of the program pool at the City’s award-winning Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, it will accommodate four times as many students;
- An indoor leisure pool with a range of interactive toys, including water spraying devices and tipping buckets;
- A hydrotherapy pool;
- A crèche with indoor and outdoor play areas;
- A full-size outdoor synthetic multipurpose sports playfield;
- A fully equipped gymnasium and outdoor training circuit.
The aquatic centre will be set in Gunyama Park, a new landscaped recreation area with extensive raised boardwalks, picnicking and adventure play areas and the all-weather sports field.
A team led by Andrew Burges Architects beat 143 other entries with a concept inspired by beach pools at Bondi, Bronte, South Curl Curl and Malabar to win the Green Square Gunyama Park & Aquatic Centre Competition.
The Jury, chaired by Carey Lyon, praised the winning design as “a world class, exciting new project”.
“This appears to be a pool about relaxing as well as providing for active swimming and recreation, and is a sensual reading of how people use swimming areas,” the jury report said.
“The jury believes that this scheme will become a very special and unique type of community experience for the residents of Green Square.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the winning design would transform Green Square, one of the country’s biggest urban renewal areas located just four kilometres south of the city centre.
“Gunyama Park and the Green Square Aquatic Centre will become a wonderful place for people to exercise, relax, and to catch up with friends and family,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Andrew Burges and his team have come up with a beautifully conceived scheme that will appeal to everyone from kids looking for a place to play, to families enjoying a picnic, and swimmers improving their lap times.
“This great new facility also has a gym, a long covered outdoor deck that will be perfect for activities like yoga, a café and crèche and great pools for all types of swimmers.
“This scheme shows once again how anonymous design competitions recommended by the Institute of Architects can produce the best results.
“Last year we ran a similar competition for the Green Square library and plaza that produced an equally stunning design which is now detailed in a development application that is being assessed before construction begins.
“Along with the library and swimming pools, the City is building a creative and community centre for Green Square residents at the former South Sydney Hospital. We are providing the best facilities we can to help make one of Sydney’s fastest growing areas an even better place to live and raise a family.”
Andrew Burges said he was “overwhelmed and delighted” to win the competition after he and his team had visited many aquatic centres in their quest to design one that provided the pleasures associated with Sydney’s beachside pools.
“”We were very focused on the idea of inclusion, not just for fitness fanatics, but for different types of people and the different ways they will enjoy the centre, even if it’s just reading the paper in the sun and having the occasional dunk in the water,” he said.
Architect Stephen Varady, the competition registrar of the design competitions for both the library and for aquatic centre, was delighted with the quality of this year’s entries.
“The judges were very impressed with the creative ideas in many of the 144 entries and had to work hard to choose the five best designs as finalists. After presentation of the Stage 2 designs the jury agreed that the Andrew Burges-led scheme was the clear winner.”
Green Square, half way between the airport and the city centre, is one of Sydney’s fastest growing areas and the City of Sydney has budgeted to spend $440 million on infrastructure and community projects in and around the new Green Square town centre.
With nearly 10,000 apartments due for completion over the next four years, Green Square’s population could increase by a further 19,000 people by 2019.
Construction of the pool is scheduled to begin in January 2017 once major drainage works are completed by Sydney Water and the City of Sydney with completion expected in 2019.