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Stunning circular swimming centre to provide "new form of social space"

By Stu Robarts    12 Sep 2019
The circular centre will house and envelop a 10-lane, 50m outdoor pool and a 25m indoor pool / Andrew Burges, Grimshaw and McGregor Coxall
The aquatic and leisure centre offers a rare opportunity to consider a new form of social space for Parramatta, the simple joys of swimming and playing, and gathering with family and friends
– Andrew Cortese

A radical ring-shaped aquatic centre with wellness facilities and outdoor green space – designed by Andrew Burges Architects, Grimshaw Architects and McGregor Coxall – is to be built in Parramatta, Australia.

The centre, which will be nestled into parkland surroundings and cover a total area of approximately 18,000sq ft (1,670sq m), will feature a 10-lane, 50m outdoor pool, a 25m indoor pool and facilities for individuals learning to swim, as well as a café, a fitness centre and single-level accessible entry and pathways. Outdoor public spaces will include decking, green areas and trees providing shade.

The ring shape has been incorporated as a key feature, a City of Parramatta Council spokesperson tells CLAD, acting as a barrier to help deflect noise from the nearby road and rail networks away from the main pool halls. In addition, the wellness and fitness centre has been strategically positioned inside the building to provide further sound insulation.

The shape will also minimise the area that the centre takes up, provide a large recreational space on the rooftop of the building and help with its sensitive integration into the setting. This takes into account the local heritage, topography and other constraints, having been informed by an “extensive community consultation”. A large proportion of the centre will be sunk into the hill on which it will be built, helping to ensure the impact on views of the heritage-listed park is minimised.

Discussing the design, Grimshaw managing partner Andrew Cortese said: “The aquatic and leisure centre offers a rare opportunity to consider a new form of social space for Parramatta, the simple joys of swimming and playing, and gathering with family and friends. Our vision for the contemporary facility strikes a balance in providing for the needs of a growing a diverse community within a World Heritage-listed parkland setting.”

In addition to offering learning to swim programmes and hosting swimming training and competitions, the facility will provide a place to relax and stay cool during hot weather. More than a million visitors are expected to use the facility every year.

The concept was chosen from a shortlist of four following a design competition and is aimed at meeting the current and future needs of the city’s fast-growing population. Further detailed design work will now take place in advance of a planned development application in 2020. The centre is expected to open to the public in 2023.

The design includes outdoor decking, green areas and trees that will provide shade / Andrew Burges, Grimshaw and McGregor Coxall
The curved building will house a fitness centre / Andrew Burges, Grimshaw and McGregor Coxall
The centre is to be built in the Western Australian city of Parramatta / Andrew Burges, Grimshaw and McGregor Coxall
fitness  wellness  swimming  swimming centre  aquatic centre  Parramatta  Australia  Andrew Burges Architects  Grimshaw Architects  McGregor Coxall 
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