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Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre redevelopment to deliver 6 Star Green Star building

Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre redevelopment to deliver 6 Star Green Star building
September 30, 2021

The redevelopment of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre (NARC) is moving forward with Darebin City Council having awarded the construction contract to Kane Constructions following a competitive tender process.

Work is now expected to start on the redevelopment before the end of the year and be completed mid-2023, with the new NARC offering indoor and outdoor pools, as well as increased opportunities to participate in health and wellbeing activities through larger and additional programming spaces, and an added warm water pool for exercise and rehabilitation.

Designed by architects Warren and Mahoney - following consultation with the community and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation - the new NARC will be a 6 Star Green Star rated facility - the highest rating possible in the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system - backing the Council’s commitment to and leadership in responding to the climate emergency.

Warren and Mahoney Associate Principal Brett Diprose said an important focus of NARC’s new design has been about keeping the historic and much-loved features of the centre whilst also responding to improve the sustainability credentials of the centre in line with Darebin’s climate emergency strategy.

Diprose advised “the new design addresses the City of Darebin’s Climate Emergency Strategy and applies significant effort to prioritise leading sustainability strategies. It aligns with fundamental design considerations that embody the values and identity of Warren and Mahoney as architects that takes our role as stewards and custodians of the built environment seriously.

“The timber structure provides sustainability benefits by capturing carbon dioxide and its renewable and recyclable properties, as well as delivering a low maintenance facility with a warm, welcoming aesthetic.

“The 6-Star Green Star centre will be the first of its kind in Australia to run completely on electricity, both on site generation and power purchasing agreements, removing the reliance on fossil fuel based, non-renewable gas. A large solar panel array on the roof will power the heating of all the leisure water areas, while materials and systems have been specifically selected to minimise the carbon footprint during construction and reduce energy use once operational.”

Explaining that his team is excited to be delivering on Darebin Council’s commitment to community engagement, and delivering a sustainable facility, Kane Constructions Director, Geoff Purcell noted “Kane is thrilled to be awarded the project and is committed to delivering on council’s key sustainability goals including expanding the use of renewable energy, improving energy and water efficiency, enhancing access to sustainable transport and reducing waste.

“Kane places a strong focus and commitment on engaging local businesses, community groups and social enterprises. On the NARC project, Kane will support local employment opportunities through collaborating with local organisations and will establish inclusive employment practices for all.”

“As a local Darebin resident, along with 11 of our staff, we are proud our council is living up to its commitments, leading the way in climate action by delivering innovative and environmentally sustainable projects for all.”

Darebin Mayor Lina Messina said the contract announcement was a major milestone in the NARC project, adding “the redevelopment of NARC has been in the planning stages for a long time now, so it’s really exciting for Darebin City Council and our community to finally have awarded the construction contract. We’ll have shovels in the ground in no time.

“The new NARC will be back, bigger and better than ever before, with even more capacity for our community members to achieve their health and fitness goals.”

Warren and Mahoney's approach to sustainability in facility design was explored in a feature in Australasian Leisure Management issue 142.

For more information on the NARC redevelopment go to

Images: Designs for the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre. Credit: Darebin City Council/Warren and Mahoney.

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