the wild edge

a s u r v e y o f c o a s t a l p o o l s i n n s w


why coastal pools...

Coastal pools can be found up and down the length of New South Wales in numbers unique to Australia. Geographically they are outliers of the built environment poised at the threshold of our nation's boundary. Anchored to our iconic coastline, they facilitate intimate encounters with the landscape and reflect it's importance in our national psyche.

The typology has a rich history and continues to be a focal point within coastal communities in NSW. Many were constructed as public works projects during the depression and have created a lasting legacy with approximately 60 still actively in use today. They are largely opportunistic interventions that exploit the natural topography of the rock platform to make a protected and convenient swimming area. They often exhibit the ‘bare minimum’, dematerialising into the rock platform yet providing amenity and facilitating easy access to the ocean. 

Despite being a valued part of the built environment, these pools are on the decline due to the current and future challenges they face. A growing number of these structures are progressively becoming ‘ghost pools’ demanding on maintenance, becoming unsafe or being filled in, they slowly erode under the forces of time and nature. This trend is a function of various issues such as community values, liability, funding, codes and standards, planning policies and rising sea levels.

This is a project to survey the coastal pools in NSW and to form of strategies towards their re-interpretation along our changing coastlines. The intent is that it in turn equips the community and professionals working in the built environment with the information to facilitate the continued celebration and use of this unique typology.

Funding for this project was awarded by the Architects Registration Board NSW as part of the Byera Hadley Traveling Scholarship.