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By Derek Mah   4 Sep 2021

Creating Community Minded Aquatic Centres

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For many Australians a healthy outdoor lifestyle is an essential part of life. With pristine beaches, ocean pools and state of the art aquatic facilities on offer, there’s no surprise that swimming is Australia’s leading sport.

Australia’s public aquatic facilities not only provide a range of health and wellness offerings, but they become a focal point of diverse and growing communities. This is visible in the Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre (previously known as the Auburn Pool), which was transformed by NBRS to meet the increasing needs of the Cumberland region.

Originally built in 1959 the much-loved centre had become degraded and required additional family friendly recreation areas. The NBRS team renewed the existing facility to create a design that respects the social and aesthetic significance of the original fabric. Integrated landscaped areas express strong geometries and provide open green spaces for recreation.

The rejuvenated centre now offers a range of year-round aquatic, leisure and wellness programs, supporting people of all ages and abilities. An important aspect of our design was the inclusion of a retractable privacy curtain which surrounds one of the facility’s three swimming pools. A move taken to make the aquatic centre more accessible to all community members.

Below we consider what design considerations it takes to create safe, functional and community minded aquatic facilities.

Waterplay Areas

Catering for a range of age groups and abilities can offer challenges when designing waterplay areas. During the design of Aquatopia Waterpark our team included splash pads, a gentle waterplay area for youngsters and their families, as well as more adventurous slides for older children.

Open Green Spaces

Where possible our team of Architects and Landscape Architects aim to preserve as much open space as possible. This provides areas for relaxed picnics and the potential for events to be hosted such as outdoor movie events.

Retail and Café Facilities

Successful facilities not only support the wellness and fitness objectives of the community but allow the potential for a return on investment. Integrating modern technology and digital displays into the visitor experience will help to maximise awareness of programs, events and membership deals.

Programmable Pool Facilities

Including programmable pool facilities, featuring a variety of depths allows for more versatility and offers the opportunity to provide more learn to swim programs. The use of swim walls also allows for multi-purpose usage.

People are at the heart of everything we design and we aim to create spaces that improve the lives of our communities.

Derek Mah

Associate, Community