Kraaijvanger Architects - Top Sports Swimming Venue Rotterdam
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Top Sports Swimming Venue Rotterdam

Kraaijvanger Architects

Sport&Leisure  /  Completed
Kraaijvanger Architects
The all new top sports swimming venue in Rotterdam will add a new dimension for top sports competition to the Rotterdam area. This sports center will facilitate national and international sports competitions and meets Olympic standards. Both the 50m1 competition swimming pool and the 25m1 swimming pool are placed in the middle of a former health care building which was designed in the late fifties. This old building has had several different functions in the past decennia, but was never transformed this drastically. The original ‘H’ shaped building has been changed and enlarged into a rectangular building block. On both ends of the old building newly designed volumes are added to complete the new building structure. Inspiration for the new addition was found in the sturdy looking industrial buildings which are found on the south of Rotterdam in the former harbor areas. They are shaped in into a scale and rhythm to match the look and feel of the existing building to which they attach. The old facades have been renovated thoroughly, by adding insulation material and replacing the white aluminum windows by dark slender window frames which look more like the original steel windows. On the old building wings are the secondary functions to the both swimming pools located, like dressing rooms, storage areas and technical equipment spaces. Only a small part of the old building has been demolished and the majority of the existing floors and walls have been used to create new spaces.

The main areas of the top sport Swimming Venue are located on the first floor, thus making the ground level of the building available for small shops and bars/cafes with terraces. This is a turnaround with regard to the old building, where the whole plinth was not accessible from street level. This is a major improvement for the liveliness. The main entrance is next to a new public square that will be formed with an all new the theatre. In the main staircase large mosaic whales accompany you on your ascend.

The main program consist of two swimming pools, a 50m1 sports pool and a 25m1 supporting pool. The large swimming pool is for competition and training purposes. The main focus is set specific on the sports activities and the athletes. All the materials used in this space are white, so the main view is on the sport activities and its participants. Champions and their competitors are clearly visible in contrast of their surroundings. The large seating area of 360 fixed chairs has entirely made blue. This has two main advantages; the color matches the imagery color of water and from the spectators point of view, the blue forms a dark frame in which all the sports activities take place.

For training purposes a special floating wall element which can submerge completely. This wall can divide the pool into three different sized areas so training exercises can be held simultaneously into separated areas. During large events, the number of seated spectators can increase to a thousand on specially prepared area’s on two sides of the platforms. The sports area is connected to a fitness and massage area which is located in the basement of the old building, so a wide number of services can be provided for the athletes.

The supporting pool is used for warming ups and/or cooling downs during competitions and is located directly next to the sports swimming pool. On the platform level there is a large visual connection between the two pools. The supporting pool also has an important role for the community, by providing a location for swimming lessons for young school children. For this purpose a free floating bottom floor with two different simultaneously height settings was added. The depth of the pool can be set from 2,2 to zero meters, so the pool is also accessible for people in wheelchairs or elderly. This pool will strongly provide a welcome addition to the local community. In contrast to the all-white sports pool, this supporting pool is more intimate and has a wellness/spa based ambiance and atmosphere.

The facades of the former health care building are made visible on some parts of the walls above the platforms. And, if one looks closely, the original facades can also be seen on the sports focused side, slightly masked behind all-white paint. Al lot has been done to maximize the acoustic quality within both of the swimming pool areas. Acoustic panels have been added in large quantities to control the overall acoustic dampening. Windows have been set to an angle to avoid scattering sound waves and a full seized suspend ceiling has been added in both swimming areas. The whole ceiling has been made accessible for maintenance and periodical inspections.

The community of Rotterdam owns a large number of sports related buildings, the department which oversees the activities held in all of these buildings is located in top sports Swimming Venue. This contributes to the idea of a sports related building complex. Some of the small shops located in the plinth are specialized in sports related products. To add more public facilities to the building a district center of the city of Rotterdam is located on the ground level. The location for this top sports venue is key for its success, it is next to public transportation, near to a well visited shopping area and widely within the city limits. The whole area will change into a more vibrant and lively neighborhood within the next five years due to several large new projects. The top sports venue is the first of several new developments in the area with their focus on sports, leisure and general improvements of the urban exterior quality.

All these combined functions will make this new building complex an important project in the south of Rotterdam. Already a large number of national and international sports competitions will be held in this top sports center within next few months, so records will be sharpened and new champions will rise in Rotterdam for the years to come.


 The Netherlands
 Hart van Zuid v.o.f. (Consortium Ballast Nedam & Heijmans)
 13800 mq
 Kraaijvanger Architects
 Vincent van der Meulen, Joost Esschendal, Jan-Hein Franken, Laurence Meulman, Bart van der Werf, Eveline Withagen
 Hart van Zuid v.o.f. (Consortium Ballast Nedam & Heijmans)
 Advisor building costs: Ballast-Nedam, Nieuwegein; Advisor constructions: Adviesbureau Tielemans, Eindhoven; Advisor engineering: DWA, Bodegraven; Advisor electrical engineering: DWA; Advisor transport installations: DWA; Advisor fire safety: DGMR, Arnhem; Designer Whale Artwork entrance area: Silo, The Hague;
 1. Mosa (tiles; walls and platforms of the 25m1 swimming pool and all other tiles in the project); 2. Agrob Buchtal (tiles; both pools, walls and platforms of 50m1 swimming pool); 3. OWA (blue ceilings); 4. Groot en Visser (façade subcontractor; new facades and upgraded new windows in the old building) ; 5. Knauf Aquapanel (interior walls); 6. Variopool (various special swimming pool products); 7. Strikolith (stucco facade supplier)
 © Ronald Tilleman


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