Existing community infrastructure becomes a social, cultural and environmental asset.
The Broadmeadows Baths turn an abandoned local pool site into a social and community hub, designed to trigger positive growth and development. Here the community can come together and experience communal bathing – a tradition of many Middle Eastern cultures – in a building to be proud of.
The design fuses Roman and Turkish bath houses with the Australian landscape, and the idea of water and the ritual of cleaning are central to the concept. Innovative approaches allow the bath house to meet high sustainability standards in energy and water-use. An extensive grey-water treatment network and bio-filter wetland cuts down energy use while constantly recycling water. The bio-filter wetland is a key design feature of the bath house, weaving its way through the building – almost as if the building is the filter, cleaning the water in a ritualised process which parallels the bathing process itself. Excess purified water flows into nearby Merlynston Creek, transforming it from a polluted drain into a clean and functional aquatic eco-system. The sun heats the water as it passes through evacuated pipes on the roof and through massive, north-facing rammed earth walls. The walls provide thermal mass and internal temperature regulation, while their ochre layers echo the natural gullies of the surrounding landscape.
The Broadmeadows Baths is intended to become a positive asset for the immediate neighbourhood and Broadmeadows as a whole, attracting visitors and stimulating the local economy.