New South Wales

Sydney's Prince Alfred Park Pool: An AAUD winner

WITH nominations now being accepted for the 2015 Australia Award for Urban Design, we showcase some of the standout projects from last year that were recognised for the significant difference they made to the places, spaces, buildings and infrastructure of our cities.

Palm forecourt and toddler playground
Above: Palm forecourt and toddler playground / Supplied.

This continuing series begins with the joint winner of the Large Scale Delivered Outcome category: the Prince Alfred Park Pool, which is located in the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills and was delivered by Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design and the City of Sydney.

Toddler playground
Above: Toddler playground / Supplied.

Prince Alfred Park Pool

The importance of green space in densely developed inner urban areas is well accepted, but its design must be carefully related to the needs of its users. The ambition of this project by Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design and the City of Sydney was to reinvigorate the 7.5 hectare park and upgrade the tired public pool by creatively integrating the built form and the landscape.

Shareway at dusk
Above: Shareway at dusk / Supplied.

Based on established powerful geometries, three defined zones provide an urban framework within which the project is understood. Originally laid out for large exhibitions in an English style landscape, the park now provides many different elements, from fitness and leisure equipment to children's play areas, with a new spatial and ecological sensibility that is contemporary without erasing its Victorian roots.

Plan and section drawing
Above: Plan and section drawing (click for enlarged version) / Supplied.

To maintain the park feeling amidst the structures, the design has used a folded landscape with a green roof of native meadow grasses that conceals the presence of busy traffic on Chalmers Street, and there is provision for a tri-generation plant to achieve energy sustainability. Prince Alfred Park has become a popular year round destination for a diverse community and a benchmark in social sustainability.

Pool at dusk
Above: Pool at dusk / by Lachlan Hardy.
Umbrellas at Prince Alfred Pool
Above: Umbrellas at Prince Alfred Park Pool / by Newtown grafitti.

More about the Australia Award for Urban Design

The Australia Award for Urban Design was established to recognise recent urban design projects of high quality in Australia and to encourage cities, towns and emerging settlements of all sizes to strive for similar improvement. It acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of our cities and towns.

The Award is hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia, with support from the Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Green Building Council of Australia, Consult Australia, Engineers Australia, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and the Urban Design Forum.

Nominations are being accepted until Thursday 30 July, 2015, with judging to take place in August and the award event to be held in September.

Further information is available from the Planning Institute of Australia website at <>.

Photos 1, 2, 3 and 4: Photos and drawings of Prince Alfred Park Pool / Supplied / Used with permission.
Photo 5: Pool at dusk / 'Sunset swim' / Lachlan Hardy / Licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0.
Photo 6: Umbrellas at Prince Alfred Park Pool / Newtown grafitti / Licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0.

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