Perth thermal spa facility approved despite council opposition

The Western Australian Planning Commission has approved a proposal to build the state’s largest spa facility: the $25 million Tawarri Hot Springs, designed by Plus Architecture.

Looking out over the Derbarl Yerrigan/Swan River in the ritzy Perth suburb of Dalkeith, the facility will be built on the site of the run-down Tawarri Reception Centre – once home to the historic open-air Dalkeith Hot Pool, which was known for attracting skinny dippers.

The facility will feature pools, saunas and Turkish baths alongside a restaurant, rooftop bar, cafe and day spa. It will cater to up to 220 guests at a time.

The built form will comprise a series of orthogonal pavilions, which Aspect Studios carefully integrated with the landscape design. Plus Architecture Perth director and project lead Patric Przeradzki said the design aimed to emphasize the site’s natural beauty through an interplay of natural materials.

“We have focused on a series of design contrasts in this project, such as hot and cold, dark and light, indoor and outdoor,” he said. “These encourage a sense of curiosity as guests explore the different pavilions and routes they can take across the site.”

Plus Architecture looked to Europe for inspiration, incorporating features seen in spas in France and Italy.

Tawarri Hot Springs by Plus Architecture.


KiP Creating

“Our research enabled us to understand how these wellness destinations serve both the individual and the community,” said Przeradzki.

“People use these places to relax in the spa, but they also want to explore the space, take photos and socialize. It was therefore also important to give equal attention to the moments that exist between the ‘spa’ experiences, such as dining and leisure time.”

Spearheaded by property developers Barry Jones and Kathryn Gunn, the spa proposal has proved controversial. The City of Nedlands council opposed the project, fearing floods and loss of public access to the foreshore.

At a public meeting on Thursday 18 May, Nedlands mayor Fiona Argyle labelled the project a “monstrosity of concrete” and said its goal of 6 Green Stars amounted to “greenwashing,” WA Today reported.

The redevelopment of Tawarri Reception Centre was first proposed in 2016. The council refused to lease the land for the spa proposal in 2022 but was overruled by the state government, which deemed the project to be of state significance.

The State Development Assessment Unit unanimously approved the project on Thursday. Co-owner Kathryn Gunn said the Tawarri Hot Springs had already generated enthusiasm in Perth.

“While we expect to attract visitors from interstate and overseas, the Tawarri Hot Springs has been designed for and by the people of Western Australia and Dalkeith – using local materials and stories to deliver a peaceful and sustainable wellness destination for the suburb we’re proud to call home,” she said.

“There’s nothing like it in WA, which is why we are so excited to be working with our community to deliver the project.”

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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