25 meter heated swimming pool. Credit: Andrew Burges Architects / Brett Boardman
Our world-class Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Center won the prestigious Sydney City Mayor’s Award (co-winner) and the Public Architecture Award at the NSW Architecture Awards.
The new centre’s swimming pool, inspired by Sydney’s iconic beaches, is the largest built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics.
With swimming pools, exercise areas and relaxation areas, Gunyama Park is part of our commitment to build sustainable facilities that meet the diverse needs of our communities.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how different experts brought their designs to life at this beautiful resort.
Pools create an urban oasis in Green Square
Architect Andrew Burges. Credit: Chris Southwood / City of Sydney.
There is a special kind of fun in swimming in rocky ocean pools familiar to the people of Sydney. the feeling that Gunyama Park designers Andrew Burges Architects and Grimshaw with landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean in collaboration with the city of Sydney evoke in their design.
“Our goal was to create a new leisure hub for Green Square. Given the center’s location in a new, high-density area, it was really important to go beyond just the long swim.
“Beach pools helped inspire this – creating places to sit in the sun to read, to relax by the water on a hot day, so kids can play without disturbing serious swimmers. – by creating an inclusive and open community facility that ends up celebrating the pleasures of swimming and water, ”said Andrew Burges.
The designers took inspiration from elements from Bronte, Coogee and Curl Curl beaches to “bring the beach” into the cityscape of Green Square. Notable new buildings, including our Green Square Library and Joynton Avenue Creative Center, add to the skyline.
Design celebrates sustainable Eora culture on Country
Smoking ceremony for the opening of the center. Credit: Renee Nowytarger / City of Sydney.
Gunyama Park takes its name from the Sydney Aboriginal word meaning ‘southwesterly wind’. The site, where before colonization, fresh and salt water flowed together, was an important area for the Eora people.
Ancestral stories have been woven into the design of the center through public art and an Indigenous interpretive strategy.
Bangala was made by the traditional owner of Gorawarl / Jerrawongarla, Aunt Julie Freeman and artist Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Jonathan Jones. The artwork was inspired by the bangala palm water vessels that were used to transport and maintain fresh water in coastal environments. He underlines the continued importance of water at this site.
Marray (or “wet”) is an interpretive work that also indicates a connection to traditional country. It places local words Dharug and Dharawal around the edges of pools and wetland landscaped paths.
We continue to work with the operators of the center and First Nations people in the region to ensure that the center is welcoming and inclusive. Plans are underway to pursue the Indigenous perspective in the next phase of the work, which includes a children’s play area and green space.
Form meets function for different needs
Hydrotherapy pool. Credit: Chris Southwood / City of Sydney.
Accessibility and inclusion were the main design priorities of the center. Gunyama Park has a 50-meter outdoor swimming pool located in recreational paddling areas. Bathers can rest under the umbrellas, relax by the pool or have a coffee at the cafe. And with a nursery at the center, parents can take a moment to relax or focus on their stroke.
The 25-meter indoor pool has a movable floor for different activities, from water polo to swimming lessons. For the kids there is a shallow water play pool with slides, spray jets, and a tipping bucket.
All pools have a ramp and a shallow slope. Two pool hoists can be moved to different parts of the center. There is also a hydrotherapy pool built to Australian standard.
Interactive water toys. Credit: Chris Southwood / City of Sydney.
Gunyama Park is the first aquatic center in New South Wales to have a fully accredited change center.
This means that secure locker rooms and toilets meet the needs of people who need space and assistance and for whom a generic toilet is not suitable.
A hearing augmentation system that covers all areas of the center, a charging station for mobility scooters and an AccessKey that provides predictive information to people with various needs.
Other exercise facilities include a synthetic sports field, a gym with equipment and classes, a yoga terrace, and an outdoor training circuit.
High level of durability
Chris Collins and David Bennett, City of Sydney Green Infrastructure Team. Credit: Chris Southwood / City of Sydney.
Sydney City Green Infrastructure Implementation Director Chris Collins said Gunyama Park is the first recreation center in Australia to achieve a 5 Green Star design rating.
“The design gives us the flexibility to manage energy consumption. It also makes the center considerably cheaper to operate, ”said Chris Collins.
The center has an energy-saving air conditioning system and 420 photovoltaic panels that generate electricity. The panels are connected to the Sydney City local electricity grid across the road. This means that any additional energy can be used to power the buildings in the surrounding compound.
The “passive design” of the center means it can maintain comfortable temperatures without the need for excessive heating and cooling. It has natural ventilation, shading and lighting and a roof made of light filtering material. Smart faucets, showers and toilets minimize water consumption.