Green Square Aquatic Centre

TypeAquatic Centre, Gynasium & Sports GroundsLocationSydney, AustraliaYear2014StatusDesign SubmissionArchitectCumulus StudioImagesSixth Law

Roman cities had two key buildings that supported civic life: stadiums to entertain the masses and public bath houses where locals could bathe, relax and gossip. Consequently, although stadiums were grand and ceremonious spaces, bath houses were the social heart of the city.

Contemporary public swimming pools tend to function more like stadiums with the focus on swimming as a sport rather than the cultural experience of a communal dip. As a result, aquatic centres are now largely disconnected from urban life and the important social function of this typology has been lost.

The theatrical and social nature of bathing has been reintroduced and explored in this proposal for an aquatic centre as part of the Green Square redevelopment project in Sydney. By elevating the outdoor pool and placing it in the prime position on the site, the activity of swimming reconnects with the city, in a manner that is evocative of the urban roof bar, regional community pools, and the Bondi Beach bath, and provides views to the boulevards and public spaces of Green Square.

The project form was envisaged as the displaced water resulting from a new raised outdoor pool. Conceptually, the infinite edge of the beach is wrapped over the urban indoor pool with displaced water (through the use of the pool) overflowing and running down the side of the building, creating the enclosure for the spaces underneath.

The elevation of the pool creates a completely unique bathing experience and provides the users with a new perspective on public life in the city.