In consultation with a local Aboriginal artist and author it was revealed that prior to 1788 the Green Square area was predominately connecting land with walking tracks and pathways between Botany Bay and the inland.
These areas would have been passed by many people from different areas in the process of moving towards the coast to fish, hunt or collect from the sea, or conversely, moving inland to hunting and collecting areas with varied flora for food and medicinal plants. It would have likely been a neutral gathering area, a meeting place for the Gadigal people and other tribes passing through. Meeting places would likely have occurred around permanent water holes, a place to relax, exchange stories, eat, and reinforce culture and association.
Connecting land and waterhole are a metaphor for the competition site. Pathways through Gunyama Park are tracks dedicated to free movement from one street to the other. These tracks are punctuated with activity centres creating opportunities for planned and incidental gathering. Green Square Aquatic Centre is a waterhole, a meeting place, a place to eat, to exercise, and a place for recreation and relaxation, drawing in people from surrounding areas.
The site is divided by easement which has been embraced as an opportunity to create an interesting and dynamic space between the aquatic centre and the sports field. A meandering pathway runs through the easement with a series of small nodes framed sculptural aboriginal artworks and decorated with pavement art. The nodes contain benches, tables, table tennis tables, chess tables or a combination of all of them with the ability to act as pop-up recreation spaces. The artwork will extend and evolve with time as the Green Square grows around it. This space will also contain a substantial WSUD basin filled with native grasses and year round with the water referencing a watering hole story with the traditional owners of the land and a practical nod to it’s purpose as an overland flow easement.
The Main Pool is centre-stage in the aquatic centre. It is a focal point from the street and within the centre. The pool is flanked to the West by a “street” veranda, and to the East by a “field” veranda. The street veranda is the principle circulation of the aquatic centre, providing a theatre of people moving back and forward to the various activities within the centre. The aquatic experience begins at the entry with a flooded ceiling refracting light and drawing you into an underwater experience. This space is open, accessible, safe and easy to navigate. The main pool is located to the North, with the taller structure of the leisure hall to the South to minimise overshadowing. The leisure hall has large opening walls that slide up connecting it to the main pool.
Status: Competition Entry
Landscape Architect: RPS Group Australia
Additional Credits: 3D Artist: Purple Cow Architectural Imagery