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Sydney’s most expensive aquatic centre gets official opening

Sydney’s most expensive aquatic centre gets official opening
February 2, 2021

The City of Sydney has opened its $106.5 million Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre, the most expensive aquatic facility ever completed in NSW.

Costing more than twice the Council’s original project estimate and more than double the $44.7 million cost of the Inner West Council’s recently completed Ashfield Aquatic Centre, the new facility is seen as a key part of the 278-hectare Green Square development area, which includes the inner Sydney suburbs of Beaconsfield and Zetland, and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo.

The facility features a 50 metre pool outdoor pool, a 25 metre indoor pool with moveable pool floor, a childrens’ water playground, hydrotherapy pool, a gym with outdoor yoga deck, an outdoor fitness area, creche, café and an artificial turf sports field.

Waste, water and energy initiatives plus design features make this the first aquatic centre in Australia to hold a 5-star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia design rating scale.

Speaking yesterday about the new facility, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore stated “we’re thrilled to open the doors to the largest pool complex built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics, and we invite you to dive right on in.

“Our new aquatic centre is not only beautiful and fun, it’s the first in Australia to achieve a five-star sustainability rating. It also features a full array of accessibility features, so it’s a place for everyone to enjoy.

“This is the City’s sixth and largest aquatic centre right in the middle of one of Sydney’s fastest growing precincts.

“From children splashing and serious swimmers improving their lap times to gym-lovers and sports teams on the field, this terrific centre has something for everyone.”

Sustainability features
Design features, including waste, water and energy initiatives, have contributed to the centre’s 5-star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia design rating scale.

The building uses a combination of rooftop solar panels and cogeneration systems to produce electricity for the centre and park operations. The heat by-product of the cogeneration system is used for warming the pool water. Surplus electricity will power neighbouring buildings in the Green Square community and cultural precinct.

Water from the Green Square urban water recycling centre is used for toilet flushing and irrigating the surrounding parkland. Earth berms made from excavated material surround the aquatic centre to provide insulation for internal spaces during warm Sydney summers.

The aquatic centre’s timber and ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof adds to the building’s sustainability rating by reducing the building’s reliance on artificial lighting.

Accessibility features
The facility is the first aquatic centre in NSW to have a fully accredited Changing Places toilet and to implement an Access Key.

The Access Key information guide provides information, prediction, structure, orientation and sensory integration to help visitors with Autism, cognitive disability, intellectual disability, dementia and Alzheimer’s to familiarise themselves with the facility and plan their journey ahead of time, online.

The pools have accessible entry options including ramps and hoists and changing and toilet facilities for people with disability. Specialty accessible fitness equipment is also available.

Design and construction
The facility was designed by Andrew Burges Architects and Grimshaw with landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean with the concept chosen from more than 140 other entries in an anonymous design competition run by the City of Sydney.

The design’s most recognisable feature is recreation area linked to the outdoor 50 metre pool, which Lord Mayor Moore describes as being “inspired by Sydney’s much-loved ocean pools”, noting that “setting the large lap pool within larger recreation spaces (is) reminiscent of hanging out at or wading into the beach.”

Describing the feature as “the jewel of the complex”, Lord Mayor Moore added “its unusual shape inspired by Sydney’s coastline edge allows swimmers to walk and paddle in or sit for a breather on the shoreline.”

The architects took inspiration from Sydney’s ocean pools and incorporated their curved shapes into the outdoor pool and other parts of the complex, much of which is bathed in natural light.

Commenting on the concept, Andrew Burges advised “the sweeping geometry you see throughout the building has been inspired by the headlands and the beaches.

“We looked at a whole series of beach pools (in designing the facility). If you weren’t looking at the beach pools, you’d have done a rectangular pool.”

The centre is a 10-minute walk from Green Square train station, with the Green Square urban renewal area will be home to more than 62,000 residents, among the highest residential density in Australia when it is complete in 2031.

The City of Sydney is investing $550 million in extensive infrastructure and streetscaping works throughout the area, as well as community facilities including a library and plaza, childcare centre, creative hub, public artworks and parks.

While officially opened as of yesterday, the facility will not be open to the public until the end of the month.

Images courtesy of the City of Sydney.

Related Articles

24th January 2021 - Documentary looks to celebrate heritage of the ocean pools of Sydney’s Northern Beaches

11th January 2021 - Cost of City of Sydney’s new Gunyama Aquatic Centre set to exceed $100 million

30th December 2020 - ARI NSW issues statement on child safety in aquatics and learn to swim

21st December 2020 - Staff shortages see closure of Cowra Aquatic Centre

18th December 2020 - Belgravia Leisure’s achievements in aquatic programs and facilities recognised at AUSTSWIM Awards

16th December 2020 - Parramatta Council receives approval to build new aquatic and leisure centre

26th November 2020 - Centaman introduces new facial recognition solution for Australian and New Zealand aquatic, fitness and sport centres

20th October 2020 - Outdoor pool at Orange Aquatic Centre reopens for summer with COVID-19 conditions

9th October 2020 - Works completed at redeveloped Ashfield Aquatic Centre

30th September 2020 - City of Sydney installs sustainable LED lighting across aquatic and community facilities

24th September 2020 - Aquatic, fitness and sport facilities headed for membership crisis

21st August 2020 - Sydney’s Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre on target for end of year completion

29th January 2020 - New Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre to be heated by cogeneration system

21st May 2019 - Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre budget rises to almost $85 million

25th March 2019 - New community outdoor space opens in the heart of Green Square

2nd January 2019 - New Green Square public space design changes the role of the library

15th July 2016 - Green Square aquatic centre architects set ambitious sustainability target

12th August 2015 - Sydney’s costly affair with extravagant aquatic centres

4th November 2014 - Winning Green Square Aquatic Centre design brings a beach to central Sydney

6th September 2013 - City of Sydney approves aquatic centre plans for Green Square

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