A Natural Bio-Swimming Pool Wins Top Prize in Annual Awards

November 1, 2016



A natural bio-swimming pool in Melbourne has scooped the prize pool in the annual Houses Awards.

Included as part of the design of Fairfield House by architects Kennedy Nolan in collaboration with Sam Cox Landscape, the dramatic natural swimming pool set in a native landscape took out the Outdoor and Sustainability categories in this year’s awards.

Located on a steep bush block on the banks of the Yarra River in the inner-city suburb of Fairfield, the design features a number or intertwining native garden spaces that adjoin a winding path that leads to the banks of the river, which the judges said felt like an extension of the Yarra River corridor.


“A sequence of small and robust interventions connects house to garden to river, allowing the occupant to reconnect to the place in a way that has long been lost,” the judges said of Fairfield House.


“A bushland is recreated in a place that is characteristically a cottage garden – one can wander, bathe, warm by the fire and float above the river.

“These interventions are more primal than manicured; they speak of permanence and create a ritualistic existence in a new yet old world, on the doorstep to a big city.”

When judging the Sustainability Award, the judges said: “Great effort and restraint has been practiced in this outdoor environment, from the complete regeneration and rehabilitation of a bushland setting with endemic species to the experimental bio-pool that required extensive research and commitment.”


“The garden is watered naturally when it rains and the pool is serviced by solar tubing and power offset by photovoltaic cells,” the judges said.

“This is a rare project that generously offers an authentic approach to celebrating and preserving our natural ecosystem. It achieves this to the benefit of surrounding properties that now enjoy a small fragment of the Australian bush.”

Now in its sixth year, the awards celebrate the best in Australian residential design. Grouped into ten categories, with the overall winner named Australian Home of the Year, the Houses Awards is considered Australia’s most prestigious residential design competition.


Natural bio-pools are growing in popularity as homeowners seek to reduce their carbon footprint and create more eco-friendly homes.

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