In pictures: Slide, splash and stretch at Sydney’s newest aquatic centre

Beautiful organic lines, a 60s beach culture throwback and links to people, place and culture. There’s more to our freshest pool than swim lanes and goal posts

Making a splash

Credit: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre opened its doors on 1 February 2021. Green Square locals made the first splash with a choice of the 50m heated outdoor pool set within a larger, irregular-shaped beach pool, 25m heated indoor program pool, indoor leisure pool and heated hydrotherapy pool. There’s a café and creche on site, and the expansive complex also features a synthetic sports playfield, fully equipped gymnasium and outdoor training circuit.

Inspired by Sydney's beaches

Credit: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

Organic, curved finishes and an urban beach landscape define the design of Green Square’s newest architectural gem. Inspired by the shape and form of Sydney’s ocean pools, Andrew Burges Architects with Grimshaw and TCL created indoor and outdoor spaces that are as beautiful as they are practical.

A throwback to 60s Sydney beach culture

Credit: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

Beach-style lockers, soft pastel interiors and striped cabanas evoke 60s beach culture in Sydney.

Just east of Green Square’s town centre, this former industrial landscape is now a sea of yellow and white beach umbrellas lining the glistening outdoor pool. Over 76,800 blue and white pool tiles and sculptural bleachers are a reminder of Sydney’s ocean pools at this urban beach setting.

Endless water play fun

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Great design and functional facility aside, hold your excitement for the kids epic play area. A mega water-drencher, jet sprays and tipping buckets are part of the indoor leisure pool fun. The indoor pool’s moveable floor is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and allows flexibility in programmed activities like swimming lessons.

Salute to the sun

Credit: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

The covered exercise space overlooks the exquisite facility. Part of Gunyama Park’s health and fitness facilities, the tranquil, wood-lined space is another place to escape, recharge and energise, perfect for future yoga classes.

Sustainability outcomes front-of-mind

Credit: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

420 solar panels and a natural gas cogeneration system provide the green tech that helps power the site. These innovations, along with a large rainwater tank and a design that considers climate response and materials allow smart management of our energy and water consumption and a much-reduced environmental footprint. Plus, it will make the centre significantly cheaper to run every year.

The enduring story of water for this place, its people and culture

Credit: SilverSalt

2 bronze cast bangala — or Eora water carriers — by Jonathan Jones and Aboriginal Elder Auntie Julie Freeman are public art installations nestled in the wetland landscape at Gunyama Park.

The artwork can be found in the raingarden near the centre’s Zetland Avenue entrance. Like natural springs, water from the artwork’s pair of bronze carriers spills over the eastern suburbs banksia scrub, recalling the early riparian landscape.

The carriers echo the importance of water here, having always defined the landscape over time—from freshwater creeks that were a vital resource for local Aboriginal communities to water-reliance industries that dominated the inner south in the early 1900s. And now the site has returned to a place of water and recreation as Green Square’s stunning new pool complex.

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