From Commercial to Community Swimming Pools: Good Design Insures Against Bad Results

By Mark Bates

Why do we swim?

To relax? To exercise? To compete?  To heal? To feel safe in the water? To socialise?

At different times, all of these things.

Swimming pools are widely recognised as a social good.

The NZ Health and Physical Education curriculum expects all children to have opportunities to learn basic aquatic skills by year 6. Swimming is New Zealanders’ second favourite sport and recreation activity after walking. And rehabilitation activities like hydrotherapy help people with a variety of conditions.

When you’re creating a pool, how do you deliver an experience for all your users that invites another visit? And another?

Pools don’t happen by accident. They are highly designed, specified and regulated spaces. They are also costly to build and maintain. Pools are some of our biggest building failures. But they shouldn’t be. Good design insures against bad results.

And the person responsible for delivering that design is your architect. Architecture is not skin deep. A good architect understands how different people use spaces. How air pressure, ventilation and humidity create comfortable environments. Whether your chosen site can deliver the volumes of water, heat and space you require. And whether your pool will meet New Zealand Standards and legislation. A good architect thinks beyond project delivery to sustainable future use and management of your pool.

Read on to find out what goes into making your pool somewhere you, your friends and your community want to be.

Well Designed Pools Are Built Around Sensory Experiences

Three Steps to Designing Pools for Every User

Mark Bates is a Wellington based architect that has over two decades experience in designing and refurbishing aquatic centres, community and school pools across New Zealand and Australia.    

Mark can be contacted at