Prince Alfred Park Pool, the City of Sydney’s new all-year round heated outdoor 50-metre pool, opened for swimming today – with free entry for six months.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the entire community could be proud of the beautiful new pool.
“Residents, visitors and workers have been incredibly patient as issues including, unusually high rainfall and soil contamination, delayed the new pool,” the Lord Mayor said.
“To say thanks to the community, this fully-accessible pool will have free entry for six months.
“The pool will be open all-year round, providing fantastic views of the city skyline while swimmers do their laps in well-heated water.
“It’s quite simply and architectural masterpiece.”
The pool upgrade is the first major public building designed by Potts Point-based practice Neeson Murcutt Architects.
Established by Rachel Neeson and her late partner Nicholas Murcutt in 2004, the practice has since exhibited their work at the Venice Biennale (in 2006 and 2008) and received numerous awards from the Australian Institute of Architects.
Nicholas tragically died in 2011 as the project was gearing up for construction and a small tribute to him has been installed within the pool surroundings.
“It is an irreconcilable disappointment that Nick will never see the project complete – although he knew exactly how it would be, how it would delight,” Ms Neeson said.
“Nick’s zestful enthusiasm and dogged dedication will be remembered by all and his memory cast as a ghostly grey shadow on the smallest skylight, visible against the sky from the Chalmers Street entrance. These wonderfully over-scaled elements are pure Nick.”
The pool has a new café with direct access to the park, sky-lit change rooms and tiles that gently reflect water and natural light, tiered seating built into a mound within the park and bright-yellow shade umbrellas that dot the landscape like wildflowers.
The building has the biggest green roof of its kind in Sydney, topped with indigenous flowers and meadow grasses that fold over the café and change rooms.
It uses best practice filtration and monitoring, stormwater harvesting, water-saving fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and heating.
With construction, design and staff costs to finish the project, and liquidated damages due to late completion, the expected final total is $20.5 million – a six per cent variation on the estimated $19.3 million original tender in 2010.
Local artist Sonia van de Haar from art and architecture company, Lymesmith, worked closely with Neeson Murcutt Architects, the City and engineers to design a public art project on the site. Shades of Green features a collection of chimneys dipped in colour to blend into the sky and surrounding park.
The Lord Mayor will officially open the Prince Alfred Park Pool at a celebration event later this year.
The redevelopment of the 7.5-hectare park also includes:
An underground stormwater reuse system which will supply 95 per cent of the park’s water needs;
Five new international competition standard tennis courts with the same Plexicushion surface used in Flinders Park, the home of the Australian Open;
Two children’s playgrounds with seesaws, swings and custom-made play equipment;
A new exercise circuit with three fitness stations linked by a one-kilometre loop of accessible path for joggers, pedestrians, bikes, prams and wheelchairs;
Two new basketball courts and an additional half-court with city skyline views;
New barbecues and family picnic areas with custom-designed tables and seating;
Hundreds of new trees and plants including rainforest species and succulents including passionfruit vines, climbing frangipanis and citrus trees; and
Custom-designed energy-efficient lights throughout the park.
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