Hornsby Aquatic Centre Opening Hours – Splash of Color – Michael worked on this project with Peter Hunt and Brian LaFontaine, who served as architects. The Sydney office of Peter Hunt Architects – whose practice is based in Perth – specializes in aquatic and leisure centres, local authority offices and, paradoxically, secure environments such as detention centres. “We’re going from places you want to be to places you don’t want to be, like resorts!” Cook says sarcastically.
Water is the enemy of every building structure, it is known to every builder and architect, and sometimes to the unfortunate owner of the house. So you can imagine the challenge of designing and building an aquatic center, not only in waterproofing the pool structure, but also against condensation and large wet areas such as pool halls and changing rooms.
Hornsby Aquatic Centre Opening Hours
The Hornsby Aquatic Center on Sydney’s upper north shore suffered a “concrete tumor” and other water-related problems in 2010 after 52 years in the community. After four years and $26 million, the Prime Minister has officially opened the new Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre. The new center is mostly located on the old footprint, but with good maintenance and maintenance problems, it is expected to have a service life of more than 50 years.
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The new complex has a reinforced concrete construction and makes extensive use of glass and colored concrete. “Our design goal was to create a very modern, bright environment without dominating the park behind,” says project architect Michael Cook. Concrete walls are often found in aquatic and recreation centers “because of their strength and durability,” he said.
The site overlooks a heritage park and is in a fire-prone area. The old center was destroyed in a fire in 1994. This created certain difficulties, most importantly, the center was vulnerable to fire from the west, necessitating a high fireproof wall along this border. “Because it’s in the back of the reserve and on top of the mountain, the fire can get there very quickly,” explains Cook.
Blocking was an obvious choice, a robust structure of split units that blends into the bush context and creates a strong, fireproof barrier. The surrounds of the small windows are finished with smooth surface blocks, which allows a clear view and the attachment of the protective net without gaps.
Blocking is also used extensively in the interior spaces, from the locker rooms and gym located next to the west wall, the wall that separates these facilities from the pool hall, and the upper level offices and meeting rooms.
Hornsby Olympic Swimming Pool
These areas make good use of colored blocks with a polished surface, the colorful descendants of the familiar gray concrete blocks that have been a staple of the construction industry for many years. “We used color variations with the blocks, sometimes on a different wall to differentiate the change of use or to give it some lightness and articulation,” says Cook. “Color blocks were used everywhere blocks were visible, including wet areas.” In an aquatic center, all areas should be treated as wet areas. Now that concrete bricks have a wide range of colors and surface textures, we don’t have to tile or finish these blocks.”
In addition to a great look, concrete floors have the added benefit of high impact resistance, which is important in a facility full of curious children. It is also proven to perform in wet, salty environments such as coastal areas.
At the core of the Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Center is a 110-car car park buried in an embankment. “Even though this site had been excavated before, we had to remove a lot of sandstone to get down to the basement level,” says Cook. The basement car park also presented some potential fire problems, requiring it to be concreted. In this case, economical gray blocks are shown.
The Hornsby Center also has an Olympic-size swimming pool and a 25m heated leisure pool, with all the necessary facilities (including childcare) in the gym and a state-of-the-art leisure centre. In the open there is another swimming pool surrounded by lawns and holds 500 spectators.
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A low retaining wall was needed to overcome the undulating ground. The architects originally specified a segmental gravity retaining wall, a mortarless system that uses specially engineered interlocking concrete blocks set slightly back from the vertical. However, at the builder’s suggestion, this specification was changed to the same blocks used in the west facing external wall, constructed of Austral Masonry Architec Split Face brick in pearl grey. “Using a vertical system gave us more lawn space above the walls,” says Michael Cook.
Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Center opened to the public in August 2014. Sadly, its chief designer, Peter Hunt, passed away after a long illness, 10 days before the Prime Minister cut the ribbon to officially open the facility on 22 November. I set out bravely. We went to Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Center for the first time today with Mr 3 and Mr 2 and for the first time in the rain. And what a great choice!
The Hornsby Aquatic and Recreation Center was completely renovated in 2014. Although it is not a large aquatic center compared to other swimming centers in the area, it is perfect for families with small children.
Underground parking (3 hours free), with an elevator that takes you directly to the reception. When you enter the center, you will first see the indoor heated leisure pool. To your right is the 50 meter outdoor heated pool and to your left is the 25 meter indoor heated pool. On the other side of the recreation pool are the changing rooms, including two family rooms. And on the far left, in the back corner, there is a 2m high indoor slide, but it was not working when we visited.
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We spent an hour of free time in the pool without freezing. There was a school carnival outside in the 50m pool and it was raining so we happily stayed inside and ended up having hot chips from the kiosk.
Hornsby Aquatic and Recreation Center is located at 203 Peats Ferry Rd, Hornsby. 5 minutes walk from Hornsby train station. There is a parking lot under the center that is free for the first 3 hours.