Designed by Harry Seidler, and his final public masterpiece, the wave-shaped aquatic centre was named in honour of five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe. A major development by Sydney City Council, it inspires swimmers and sparked a residential building boom in a once-isolated industrial area of the city.
Steensen Varming designed the electrical, communication, security and lighting systems. The maximum application of natural ventilation and light, during the day, creates an outdoor environment indoors. In the dark, its glazed walls and lighting make the landmark building glow like a lantern. ‘Breeze collectors’ funnel the prevailing north-easterly wind through the centre and automatically controlled openings drive buoyancy-assisted natural ventilation. Glare sources are eliminated, ensuring optimum visibility for lifeguards. Corrosion resistant metal-halide wall washers uplight the profiled ceiling, enhancing the volume and form of the building. It is the first Australian project to receive an excellence award from the International Association of Lighting Designers.