The Green Square

Hydrating the city

Client: City of Sydney
Our role: Strategy & concept development (competition)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Year: 2013
Status: Finished

If the goal is design excellence, innovation and environmental sustainability then the starting point has to be the environment. Complex urban and environmental challenges should be met by innovative, sustainable design solutions to create ideal urban living conditions. Our team placed environmental sustainability at the forefront of our design by utilising the site’s rich history and best practices to merge city with nature as a catalyst for change.

The Green Square project provided an opportunity to take the best of the site's history, ecological infrastructure and cultural sense of place and use these layers to develop community facilities that everyone could be proud of. The proposed starting point of the development was to set the stage with a functioning wetland that not only would create ecological and cultural values of the past but provide support to the swimming pool and building systems.

The new aquatic centre was not only placed within the wetland but also defined the intersection of Zetland and Joynton Avenues with a cluster of architectural forms reminiscent of Zetland's industrial past. Openness to the street-edge provided opportunities for public and social engagement. The architecture corresponded to the wetlands of Gunyama Park, bringing together and reminding us of the site's important natural, indigenous and industrial history.

Design Considerations
The functioning wetland should include a chemical-free swimming area, food production, habitat creation and evaporative cooling for the buildings. In addition to passive and active recreational opportunities, the landscape should educate and stimulate users by communicating ecological systems and the rich site history. Site design should positively engage all street edges to encourage healthy street life activity and provide open space to allow for use by all. The park should be accessible to everyone with no clear delineation between public and private space giving the community visual and physical access to the entire site.

The unique combination of landscape, recreation and architectural form was intended to create the right environment for temporary architecture to encourage start up businesses within Stage Two. These temporary business incubators could be relocated giving flexibility to the Stage Two area.

“City of Sydney projects are world renowned for design excellence, innovation and environmental sustainability.”

Clover Moore
Lord Mayor, City of Sydney


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