Gold Coast Aquatic Center

Gold Coast, Australia
Cox Rayner Architects
Chroma, System Finnland

Gold Coast Aquatic Center

Speedy transformation

Ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this outdoor pool complex in Gold Coast has undergone an extensive make-over for this high-profile sports event. The transformation retains the three pools and the diving tower from the 1960s when the Southport Pool was originally constructed.

The $42 million (27 million euro) project, designed by Cox Rayner Architects, includes six pools, one of which is the new 50-metre, 10-lane competition pool with a seating capacity of more than 12,500 spectators. Moreover, it consists of a dry-land diving training facility, a gymnasium, a café and meeting rooms.

This Aquatic Centre was the first venue delivered for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Construction commenced in February 2013 and was completed in less than one and a half years, in June 2014.This was in advance of the original schedule, so that the facility could host the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships event in August 2014, a test the pool passed without a problem. Chroma tiles and finger grips from AGROB BUCHTAL feature throughout the facility, including in the new competition pool where the Finland pool edge system has been used. AGROB BUCHTAL products have been applied in the refurbished lane training and diving pools as well, and in the new learn-to-swim pool and the children’s play pool. Blue, green and white tiles in decorative patterns appear throughout the complex, covering parts of the concrete columns of the main pavilion, and the walls of the locker rooms.

The complex won the 2015 Gold Coast and Northern Rivers Architecture Building of the Year and People’s Choice Awards where the jury praised the project as ‘a fine piece of public infrastructure.’ According to the jury, ‘Its adaptive re-use of the site’s previous Southport Pool, with retention of key elements, builds on the Coast’s cultural heritage’ of relaxed modernism. Cox Rayner is a large Australian office, part of Cox Architecture which has a total of six branches in Australia, one in Kuala Lumpur and two more in the United Arab Emirates. The history of the company goes back to 1962, the year that Philip Cox and Ian McKay founded the office. One of the firm’s fields of expertise is represented by sports facilities. Cox has realised more than three dozen sports projects, ranging from recreational pools to large sports stadiums. This Aquatic Centre builds upon the evident competences of Cox Architecture, and of the builder who delivered the project within budget. No matter how commendable this efficient construction process has been, the real achievement is the product, an architectural design which displays a seemingly effortless beauty, not unlike the effortlessness displayed by trained swimmers doing their lengths.

Photographer: Christopher Frederick Jones