Prince Alfred Park + Pool Upgrade by Neeson Murcutt Architects in Association with City of Sydney
Urban Design: Walter Burley Griffin Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The southern end of inner Sydney – the area between Central Station, Redfern and Surry Hills – has been somewhat desolate for many years, the park and pool at its centre neglected. This inspired new project breathes life back into the precinct, with touches of wonder and delight.
The site plan skilfully calibrates the park to the surrounding street conditions. This is then overlaid with a folded topography that shelters the pool and parklands from busy traffic. The plan retains key elements of the old project – the swimming pool itself and the tennis courts – but they have been completely transformed by the new additions, and all of the elements have been united by a pastoral landscape of meadow grasses, lawns, curving paths and whimsical lighting and play structures. The new elements resonate with the history of the place.
The pool and its associated amenities and plant are sheltered from the busy street by a long folded earth berm that extends to cover the sloping roof of the amenities building. Two more triangular mounds define the pool zone and provide spectator seating. Brightly coloured umbrellas over the tiered seating give shade with a fine grain and casual touch. Everything is seamlessly integrated with the park.
The view from Chalmers Street is dominated by the sloping landform, planted with meadow grasses and punctuated by a set of spirited architectural elements: brightly coloured chimneys and flues for the trigen plant and equipment, circular shrouds for the change room skylights and a delicate mesh fence that meanders through the grasslands to secure the pool area.
This is a beautifully resolved urban project that skilfully integrates architecture, landscape and urban design, bringing vibrancy and new life to the city.
Read the project review by Philip Goad from Architecture Australia.