Carter Williamson Architects

Gunyama Beach

Green Square Aquatic Centre for City of Sydney

Green Square

Project Team:
Shaun Carter
Nuala Collins
Ben Peake
Julie Niass


Collective memories of the coast, long sun drenched days, rock-pool foraging, and family holidays are inherent to our culture and identity as Sydney-siders: they are our common ground.

Gunyama Beach is an ‘urban beach’ in the heart of Green Square evoking the nostalgia and familiarity of our shared rituals- the Australian beach experience in an urban context, playfully embodying all that we love about swimming, exercise, community and fun.

The folded landscape – reminiscent of beachside escarpments, creates a strong tectonic, defining a hierarchy of bathing spaces with distinct programmatic and atmospheric identities. Between the platforms, cascading steps present stadium seating to the action in the pools and on the playing field. The terraced platforms present a transparent programmatic logic and clear cues for way-finding.

Set below Joyton Avenue, a protected children’s playpool enjoys filtered sunlight through expansive glazing and established trees. It is the youthful heart of the centre: noisy, vibrant and colourful… and accessible by a slide!

With level access, the program and hydrotherapy pools in their lightweight pavilion are easily accessible from the street. The minimal façade and protected aspect allow the pools strong visual connections to the public realm. Terraced circulation creates a playful spatial interconnectedness with happen-chance views to pools and streetscape.

The 50 metre pool crests the landscape; a sun-kissed lounging platform with the parasol roof framing an aperture to the sky. When the great timber gates are pushed aside the pool – park threshold dissolves, unifying the site’s varied programmes and revealing the folded landscape.

At the corner of Zetland and Joyton Ave is the building’s ‘lighthouse’, the tallest most solid edge, marking the entry to the public building in the streetscape.

Beyond the pool, playing fields become public park without players and the café and gym cater to swimmers, athletes and locals all. Carved recesses in the stadium seating provide changing rooms and a canteen for the sports field, with landscape planting and areas for barbecues, outdoor exercise and recreational activities completing the Gunyama Beach precinct.

Gunyama Beach is a place to rejoice in Sydney’s climate, celebrating opportunities to share coffee with friends, to exercise, and for playtime with children of all ages.  We hope the name ‘Gunyama Beach’ will come to signify for the residents love for their local pool: a place of community. A place of fun and friendship.