Merrifield Swim School

Our concept both draws from and celebrates a connection to the immediate landscape and native ecologies of its semi-rural, grassland location. The building is anchored by a mature river red gum tree, one of several dotted across the precinct. We have located the main entry beside this tree and prioritised views from the interior out towards it.

The shape and materiality of the swim school references the rich history of agricultural sheds and hay stores. We’ve created a shed-like silhouette which has a closer, more nuanced relationship to the natural environment. The façade is clad in high-performance insulated panels with a natural metal finish. The precast concrete base references the geology of Victorian Basalt with a dark grey aggregate.

Mickleham, VIC
Traditional Country
Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
Under Construction

The swim school has essentially been designed from the inside out. We used the experience of being in the water and accessing the natural world used as a starting point for our design. We’ve placed a linear window at a low height to echo the line of the horizon and provide views across the grassland plain. This window is complemented by a continuous bench seat on the interior side.

Like the hardworking agricultural shed we were inspired by, this building has a plant and other services which we’ve deliberately concealed, creating a simple volume and freeing up the surrounding public realm spaces.