Prince Alfred Park and Pool

  • 2014

  • Architectural

Designed By:

  • Neeson Murcutt Architects

Commissioned By:

City of Sydney

Designed In:


Located at the edge of central Sydney, Prince Alfred Park is both a city park for local workers and a recreational park. The ambition of the project was to reinvigorate the 7.5 hectare park and upgrade the tired public pool. The overriding principle was to premiate landscape over built form, based on a conviction that in these inner urban areas, green space is sacred.

  • MORE
  • The old pool facility building was removed from the middle of the park along with a series of smaller outbuildings, allowing the landscape to be visually opened and re-graded, amplifying its distinctive pastoral quality. The challenge was making the new 1,000m2 pool building 'disappear' within its park setting. This was achieved through the folded landscape strategy, which also concealed the presence of Chalmers Street with its busy traffic, from the pool. Two crisply shaped landscape mounds define the space of the outdoor pool enclosure, simultaneously connecting and separating park and pool, while safely incorporating spoil as part of the renewal.

  • The main pathway through the park runs parallel with the railway. It is an important commuter route for pedestrian and cycles. The project widens and re-shapes this shareway, removing kerbs and introducing natural drainage, while concentrating new activities along this route. Upgrading a playing field and adding new recreational courts, fitness hubs, playgrounds, and picnic tables Ð adding greater park amenity, life and safety.

  • Originally laid out for the holding of large exhibitions in the English-style, the new park plays on the episodic placement of elements with a new spatial and ecological sensibility - adding life and contemporizing without erasing its Victorian roots. Memory of the Inter-colonial Exhibitions is recalled in a series of park elements that abstract the circus pens and animalia of the Agricultural Show with the toddler's playground the most direct interpretation. While path lights, arbors and elements of the pool enclosure - fence, umbrellas, toddler shade structure, tree-seat, chimneys - bestow a playful character as 'follies' within the Victorian Park

  • The green roof of the pool brings nature to the city with a 2,320 square metre biotic surface, which is continually transpiring, oxygenating the city, cooling and humidifying the site, while sequestering carbon. The reformed topography of the parkland collects, cleanses and reuses stormwater to irrigate the meadow roof and park playing field, while the more exaggerated earthforms of the pool mounds quarantine over burden. The grassland meadows preserve the pastoral quality of the site creating an urban habitat, while new shade trees build on the Victorian love of exotica. Impressing a new ecology into the performance of the park.

    Once a park that was unsafe and under-utilised, Prince Alfred Park has become a popular year round destination. Suited to community events and more intimate gatherings the park choreographs spaces for sports, relaxation and enjoyment by many. Making a place that is playful in spirit and identity through design.