Hot springs facility to return to Perth's Swan River

A hot springs wellness centre proposed for the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) would bring bathers back to a site once popular for late-night skinny dipping.

Tawarri Hot Springs, designed by Plus Architecture with landscape by Aspect Studios, would be built at the western end of the Nedlands-Dalkeith foreshore, halfway between central Perth and Fremantle.

The proposed site was once home to the Dalkeith Hot Pool, built by locals out of limestone in the 1920s after a pipe burst in a 500-metre-deep artesian well to the Yarragadee aquifer, bringing hot water to the surface. From the 1930s, the pool developed a reputation for attracting nude swimmers and “being ‘hot’ in more than one way.” In 1953 it was closed and filled in due to the “misbehaviour.”

Plus Architecture’s wellness centre is envisioned as being closer to spa facilities than its steamy predecessor.

Tawarri Hot Springs, designed by Pus Architecture with landscape by Aspect Studios.

The centre would comprise a number of pavilions that incorporate locally sourced limestone and it would include outdoor pools. The architects also note that the site is significant for the Nyoongar people as a traditional hunting ground. Tawarri is a Noongar word that translates as “evening breeze.”

“Through intensive investigation and design process the masterplan has [been] developed [to] be sympathetic to and build upon opportunities presented in the surrounding landscape and public facilities,” Plus Architecture states in planning documents. “The project aims to create a design that is both elegant and timeless while also being sufficiently robust to withstand future design changes that may be required.”

In addition to the outdoor pools, Tawarri Hot Springs would include indoor pools, saunas, a restaurant, a café and a two-storey treatment centre.

The pools would be filled via a bore to the Yarragadee aquifer with the warmth coming from geothermal heating. The groundwater would be injected back into the aquifer.

The site was a Strategic Tourism Attraction by the state government in 2019, with Tourism WA given oversight of the project. A design competition was held for the project, with Plus Architecture beating out three other firms.

In a letter of support submitted as part of the planning application, Tourism WA chairman Nathan Harding says the project “builds upon the rich history of the site, which included the community use of hot water pools in the area.”

“There are numerous public benefits to this development which include construction and operational jobs, the generation of lease revenue to the State and City of Nedlands for maintaining and improving the foreshore reserve, increased length of stay and spend by visitors to Western Australia, and public access to a world class wellness facility,” he states.

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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