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Mauro Fitness Facility

The architecture of the late Frei Otto has always inspired us. His work exhibits a lightweight, ethereal refinedness in its structure. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect once said, “I have built little, But, I have built many castles in the air.” A beautiful quote from a man that pushed the boundaries of architecture and geometry.

In this project to be constructed in Fennell Bay, NSW, we have looked into the work of Frei for direction, particularly for the roof assembly.

Our patron, a well-respected triathlon coach, based in Newcastle, wanted to merge business with home. Therefore, pools, modular high altitude chambers and purpose built training rooms have been all integrated with a modest home at the top level.

The gradient of the land itself is the aspect that informs much of our design. Therefore, it starts with the large lap pool, 50m x 6m to be exact! A significant cut into the ground is made with the earth behind retained; then the soil from the cut becomes fill to support the section of the pool that protrudes out. From there, it is a matter of how the levels work with the pools FFL. The majority of the platforms stagger up or down the hillside via a central stair corridor. Modules to the left, pools and decks to the right.

Aesthetically, the design attempts explore the play between heavy and light. Naturally, the pool embeds its self into the land surrounded by concrete and block work yet, the roofline, inspired by the work of Frei Otto, uses recycled telegraph poles to create a timber portal frame. Heavy-duty tension fabric is then stretched over and under the poles giving shelter to the undercroft. This light weight roof appears to fold like origami cascading down the hill.

The project is currently in Design Development.

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