james khamsi FIRM sydney green sq

Sydney, Australia 2014. Aquatics and Fitness Center
ETFE roof, steel structure and glazing at ground level

This new aquatics and athletic center is integrated with the natural and cultural cycles of its site. The design first considered the daily trajectories local residents and visitors would take.  In lieu of a static front door, the public is brought into the heart of the project through an arcade. The center’s program is divided into wet and dry zones located on either side of the arcade. The facilities are reached through their respective changing areas and check–in points.

To maximize visual interaction between community members inside and outside of the project, the active programs are arranged around the building’s periphery. Dark and modest programs, such as back of house and the changing rooms, are consolidated in the core of the building.

Water is central to the life of this building and frames its relationship to its environment. The design of the landscape and building uses best practices in sustainable water management to deliver an innovative aquatics center.  Back of house volumes harvest rain water to be re-used throughout the project.

The aquatic and fitness programs are enveloped in a geometric cloud made of inflated ETFE cushions. These cushions are extremely light and are able to span over the pools and fitness center with minimal steel.

The ETFE roof’s modular geometry is made of three shapes: a triangle, a square and a hexagon. Despite the small number of components, the system produces a rich variety of spatial experiences – from the short span over the arcade, to longer, irregular spans over the pool. From outside, it produces a silhouette that constant shifts and offers different readings from different angles.


james khamsi FIRM sydney green sq axo