Design competition: Gunyama Park and Aquatic Centre

Architect's render of Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre

The City of Sydney invited architects and landscape architects to enter a design competition to create a new park and aquatic leisure centre for the Green Square area.

From five finalists, our jury of leading Australian architects unanimously chose a scheme designed by a team led by Andrew Burges Architects with Grimshaw and T.C.L.

Inspired by the beach pools of Sydney, the winning design creates a beautiful venue for the Green Square community which is as much about relaxing as swimming.

The design features a 50 metre outdoor pool set within a large, irregular shaped ‘beach pool’, indoor pools and gym, all set within a beautiful park with play equipment, boardwalk and native landscaping.

A design to delight

Gunyama Park and Green Square Aquatic Centre have been designed to create a leisure and fitness complex with something for everyone. It will be a place to catch up with friends and family, enjoy some quiet time in the open air, do serious exercise or meet up with your sports team for training.

The design features:

  • A 50 metre heated outdoor pool with space for lap swimming and play
  • A 25 metre program pool for swimming lessons
  • An indoor leisure pool with a range of interactive toys, including water spraying devices and tipping buckets
  • A hydrotherapy pool
  • A crèche with indoor and outdoor play areas
  • A full-size outdoor synthetic multipurpose sports playfield
  • A fully equipped gymnasium and outdoor training circuit
  • An outdoor playground and boardwalk
  • Plants and landscaping inspired by the area’s indigenous heritage

The competition


To ensure high quality design, the procurement process for the park and aquatic centre was a two stage open architectural design competition. The competition was staged in accordance with the Australian Institute of Architects Guidelines for Architectural Competitions and the Australian Landscape Architects Guidelines for the Promotion and Conduct of Competitions.

The first stage was an open anonymous call for designs, from which five were short-listed by the jury. In the second stage, the five chosen entrants prepared more detailed designs from which the final winner was selected.

Read the jury's report PDF 11MB

Activating the inner south

Gradually changing from an industrial centre to an urban redevelopment area, Green Square is one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in the city. The 278 hectare precinct includes Zetland and Beaconsfield, and parts of Rosebery, Waterloo and Alexandria and will eventually be home to 48,000 residents and the workplace for 22,000 people.

Many of these residents will be living in vertical villages, either in the new town centre next to the station or in other new precincts such as Epsom Park, Lachlan Precinct and Victoria Park. It is vital that Green Square’s residents, workers and visitors have open spaces in which to meet and gather, to play and exercise. The park and aquatic centre will complement the library, the plaza, other new parks, and the creative community hub on the former hospital site in creating a vibrant and active neighbourhood.

Leading the way

The City of Sydney is proud of the leadership role it plays in urban design, and pursues design excellence in all of our architecture, landscape and urban design projects.

Green Square provides a unique opportunity to ensure our focus on design excellence is part of every new building project. We are working with leading architects to design our community facilities for the area. Design competitions have been used for the aquatic centre and library and plaza to make sure we get the very best designs and encourage new creative talent.

Meet the competition jury

Chair – Carey Lyon

Director of Lyons, an award-winning architecture and urban design practice based in Melbourne; acknowledged leader in urban design, sustainability and the design of research / learning environments

Professor Richard Johnson MBE AO, NSW

Director of Johnson Pilton Walker, an award-winning architecture and urban design practice based in Sydney; Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects; RAIA Gold Medallist

Camilla Block, NSW

Director of Durbach Block Jaggers, an award-winning architecture and urban design practice based in Sydney; acknowledged design leader for residential, commercial and civic projects

Landscape Architect – Professor Gini Lee, Victoria

Registered landscape architect; Elisabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture, University of Melbourne; member of City of Melbourne Parks & Gardens Advisory Committee

Greg Holman, NSW Architect / Aquatic Buildability & Construction

Principal Architect at Harry Seidler & Associates, in charge of the winning design and construction oversight of the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in Sydney

Architect's render of Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre