Fremantle Ocean Pools

1. Sam Martin Building Design. Fremantle ocean Pool.jpg2. Sam Martin Building Design. Fremantle ocean Pool.jpg3. Sam Martin Building Design. Fremantle ocean Pool.jpg


Location:  South Mole, West End. Fremantle WA

Project Type: Preliminary Concept/Design Proposed to the City of Fremantle & the Mayor Brad Pettitt



The reasons why I came up with the idea, the ways an ocean pool will contribute to the city of Fremantle are as many and varied as the stakeholders & user groups that stand to benefit:


A Place to swim, for the community, on the Indian Ocean, close to the city centre.

  • At the moment Bathers Beach is the only beach you can swim at in between South Beach & Port Beach and this more often than not is inhospitable due to currents & weed.
  • We’re  right on the Indian Ocean but you wouldn’t know it.
  • There are plenty of facilities for boats but none for swimmers and this is a very ocean-focused community.
  • This will provide a year round, safe, ocean swimming experience for the young, old and poor swimmers.
  • People from every walk of life will swim there.
  • safe from the threats of stingers, sharks, rips, waves & weed.
  • promoting physical activity & a connection to the local environment.


Local businesses will benefit in a range of ways:

  • long has it been recognized that the west end of Fremantle needs to be commercially activated/enlivened.
  • This will provide the much needed destination or anchor point which will bring people through the west end & the port increasing foot traffic past these businesses.
  • Connecting the cafe strip with the port & the Indian Ocean.
  • It will increase the viability of businesses and investment opportunities in the immediate area.
  • The workforce of the port, the city, retail, tourism etc will have somewhere to recreate before work, at lunch time and at the end of the day, increasing health & wellbeing.
  • It will give people a reason to visit Fremantle other than coffee, shopping, fish’n’chips and beer and will increase their appetite for these things after.
  • It will drive local & international tourism, visiters to Fremantle will have somewhere to swim, on the Indian Ocean.


Fremantle is one of Perth’s premier tourist destinations & there is an obvious lack of swimming locations here.

This will make a major contribution to the facility of Fremantle:

  • It is a chance for the city & the port to actively contribute to community well being.
  • Enhancing the diverse fabric of what Fremantle has to offer.
  • The Location will encourage the community to value the working port & the vibrancy it has to offer, watching the ships come & go.
  • The ocean pools will be a physical demonstration of the value of a community focused business like the port.
  • Historical links will be formed by visitors to the ocean pool – links to the working port & the original colony.
  • Bather’s Beach was the first ‘beach’ in the swan river colony & this is a fitting type of architecture to encourage reflection upon this past.
  • It will provide a place for community to come together.


As a designer of buildings I believe the aesthetics of a project of this nature are paramount. It should only be built in this location; if it is of a very high quality & architecturally sympathetic to the nearby buildings & history. An average building in this location would be unacceptable.

To that end I would like to make a few points on this design for your consideration.

  • The forms & materials reflect the coastal geology, the coastal fringe & limestone escarpments.
  • The ocean pools become part of the limestone groyne & local history.
  • The building is akin and of the same DNA as the Round House & its tunnel, the west end and historical seaports & bath houses in general.
  • Being built in such a corrosive environment the materials were chosen to last the ages – stone, rendered brick, timber & glass survive indefinitely so close to the waterline with a minimum of maintenance.
  • These masonry compression structures such as domes, arches & vaults last hundreds of years enabling a long term energy & economic efficiency that can not be achieved with standard modern architecture.
  • The forms are culturally inclusive, every culture from the far east, through the middle east into western Europe have, in their built history, embraced arches, vaults and domes. The local aboriginals used a version of a wattle & daub dome for their shelter.
  •  It is a universal construction technique that embraces and makes comfortable, people from a wide range of backgrounds; befitting a harbour-side location in a multi-cultural city. It would fit in very well in this location.