The city of Sydney’s most sustainable and largest pool since the 2000 Olympics opens on Green Square

The state-of-the-art sustainable Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Center opened last week as a recreational focus for the fastest growing urban area in the Sydney-Green Square high-density area.

It is part of a 278-hectare urban renewal project that will replace the former industrial areas of Zetland, Beaconsfield, Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo with high-density housing for as many as 62,000 inhabitants. When completed in 2031, it will be one of the highest density residential areas in Australia.

The water center and the surrounding sports fields will be the recreational focus of the new area and are designed to take into account the growing population. It is a 10-minute walk from Green Square train station and is expected to have most visitors using public transport or walking or cycling to the city center.

The $ 106.5 million City of Sydney facility features a 50-meter pool in recreational areas inspired by Sydney’s ocean basins, a 25-meter pool with the third largest movable pool floor in the world, a children’s playground, hydrotherapy pool, gym, nursery, café and sports field.

Budget broke up

There has been some controversy in the tabloid press about the budget for this recreation facility. The actual budget adopted by the council was just under $ 103 million, although the tabloid media had confused this figure with the architects’ original competition budget from 2014, which did not include a completed scope, remediation or earthworks.

“The council approved the project budget of almost $ 103 million in 2017 to provide the best possible facility for the community,” said a spokesman for the City of Sydney.

“This came after the scope of the project was completed, including the number of pools and the size and function of the gym and other facilities, sports field and park. The Council decision also followed the tender and design process.

The final cost of the center, including pools, gym and multi-purpose sports field, is $ 106.5 million. The additional costs were due to additional remediation of the site, installation of more reliable and environmentally friendly energy systems and delays due to covid-19. ”

Gunyama boasts state-of-the-art sustainability, including a combination of solar panels on the roof and cogeneration systems and an ETFE roof. Photo credit: Brett Boardman Photography

Sustainability features

Design elements, including waste, water and energy measures, have contributed to the Center’s 5-star rating below the Green Building Council of Australia’s design rating scale.

The building uses a combination of solar panels on the roof and cogeneration systems to produce electricity for center and park operations. The heating by-product from the cogeneration system is used to heat the pool water. Excess electricity will power neighboring buildings in the Green Square community and cultural area.

Water from the Green Square City Water Center for water recycling is used for toilet flushing and irrigation of the surrounding park area. Ground beams made of excavated material surround the water center to provide insulation for interior spaces in hot Sydney summers.

The water center’s wood and ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof increase the building’s sustainability assessment by reducing the building’s dependence on artificial lighting.

The pools have accessibility options, including ramps and hoists, and changing and toilet facilities for people with disabilities. Specialized available fitness equipment is also available. The facility is the first water center in New South Wales to have a fully accredited toilet for changing locations and implement an access key.


Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Center has: a 50 m heated outdoor pool in a larger pool; a 25m heated indoor pool with a movable floor to change the depth of the pool for a variety of programs – from water polo to children’s swimming lessons; a fun water park for children with a low pool, slides, spray equipment and a tipping bucket; an indoor hydrotherapy pool, a gym, gyms, consulting rooms and outdoor yoga decks; a nursery with indoor play area; a cafe; two small meeting rooms can be rented; an expansive multifunctional synthetic sports track; an outdoor fitness area a bronze sculpture Bangala by native eldest aunt Julie Freeman and artist Jonathan Jones.

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

CPB Contractors built the new center following an extensive competitive tendering process. Construction began in 2018. Belgravia Leisure will operate the new facility.

The name Gunyama translates to “wind from the south-west” in the local Dharug language and refers to the strong southern states that blow through the area.

There will be a more detailed story about this pool in the April / May issue of SPLASH! (Number 135).

MAIN PICTURE: The 50-meter outdoor pool at Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Center. Photo credit: Chris Southwood City of Sydney

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