Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required



Green Square Aquatic Centre and Gunyama Park Stage 2 Design Competition

A new activity centre for inner Sydney

The park is conceived as an urban habitat linked by the logic of the running track. A culture of exercise and play combines to provide a habitat for intense, varied and overlapping use by people, plants and animals. Activities double up, uses piggy back off one another and speeds vary.

The green square precinct may over the next 20 years become home to more than 53 000 people with diverse and as yet undefined recreational demands.

The landscape and pool complex proposed for Gunyama Park is founded on the premise that a new recreational space within an urban context must support and reflect the varied and changing demands its inhabitants will place on the space overtime, whilst also being founded on a sustainable and accommodating habitat for flora, fauna and human occupation. One that is urban, intense and full in contrast to the nearby 19th Cent landscape of Centennial Park whose bucolic peacefulness is straining under the ever growing demands for it to deliver recreation and entertainment.

Our scheme builds an urban habitat for activity, sport, play, recreation, leisure, gardening, water, plants, birds and future activity linked by the logic of the running track. Activities double up, uses piggy back off one another, speeds vary, the spectator bleachers become skating elements, the playing field can be adapted to accommodate a golf driving range, rain gardens provide a green barrier between the street and the playground, park benches become chess venues.

Our scheme comprises of five bands with a north south orientation. The western most band at the Joynton ave frontage is divided into small spaces around the existing trees (Lemon scented gums) to provide waiting and gathering spaces, bicycle parking, outdoor cafe seating and an informal address to the new complex. Stairs connect to the upper level terrace with its cafe, contained lawns and views into the pool grounds.

The second band contains the pool complex. The open space contained within the curve of built form opens out to the park and Zetland Avenue. The western edge of the concourse’s tiered seating is interspersed with Gymea Lilly planting. This is mirrored on the eastern side of the 50 m pool by a terraced lawn for elevated lounging that provides a more intimate scale and some containment within the pool concourse area. The eastern edge of the terraced lawn doubles as a boundary to the third band of activity and creates an articulated focus for the basketball,

skating, walking, running and sport spectating. A bifurcated running track envelopes seating bleachers that double as incidental skating elements, tree planting and exercise stations.

The fourth band includes a running track loop around the sports field, a variety of fences, the amenities and change facility and a grouping of tables and outdoor games on its southern edge. The provides for retractable net fencing and teeing off positions on the roof of the amenities building, for a golf driving range operating outside field sport hours.

The eastern edge band melds the synthetic, the domestic, the urban, the floral and the site specific. It comprises of approximately a third of the site and is structured by a broad area of native shrub planting into which garden cells are cut. The shrub layer provides the much needed shelter habitat for small birds, whilst the garden cells provide for varied activity and occupation.

The garden cells offer flexibility of use and are scaled to accommodate pétanque, the growing of vegetables, flowers, small crops such as sunflowers, a gardening shed or quiet places to sit. Resident initiated annual and perennial planting that reflect the varied cultural tastes of the area’s inhabitants are grown side by side, one cell may be chrysanthemums and the neighbouring one sunflowers, lupins and marigolds, succulents and strawberries. The cells allow flexibility whilst their scale, relationship and arrangement allow for variety and contrast within a clearly structured habitat.

RMIT Researcher
Anton James
Industry Partners
Typ-Top Architects, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
Date: 2014
Status: n/a