The Green Square

Hydrate the city

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Location: Sydney, Australia
Client: City of Sydney
Type: Concept & Strategy Development (Competition)
Status: Finished


“City of Sydney projects are world renowned for design excellence, innovation and environmental sustainability.”
– Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP

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.

Historically, Green Square was once a rich source of food, water and raw materials for locals. It became a gathering place for people to strengthen their environmental and social bonds. Over the centuries, the site transformed from an ecologically rich food basket to a saw tooth industrial factory producing cars and feeding a local economy by providing jobs and community pride in place.

The Gunyama project provides 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 will be proud of. The proposed starting point of the development is to set the stage with a functioning wetland that not only creates ecological and cultural values of the past but provides support to the swimming pool and building systems.

The new aquatic centre not only sits within the wetland but also de nes the intersection of Zetland and Joynton Avenues with a cluster of architectural forms reminiscent of Zetland’s industrial past. Openness to the street-edge provides opportunities for pub- lic and social engagement. The architecture corresponds to the wetlands of Gunyama Park, bringing together and reminding us of the site’s important natural, indigenous and industrial histories.

The design considers the following as base line requirements for success:

The functioning wetland includes 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 educates and stimulates users by communicating eco- logical systems and a rich site history. Site design positively engages all street edges to encourage healthy street life activity and provides open space to allow for use by all.The park is accessible to everyone with no clear delineation be- tween public and private space giving the community visual and physical access to the entire site.

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

Streetscape design should be influenced by ecological systems on site as a catalyst for change within the greater community.

In conclusion, our team’s design provides an invitation for change giving the previously industrial site a second chance by bringing new life. The integrated wetland system and architecture combine to create a world class destination that the community and city can be proud of.


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