Architect: FUSTER + Partners Architects
Location: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Project team: Nataniel Fúster, George S. Stewart, Heather Crichfield, Sadie Winslow, Eric Barrios, Carlos Córdoba; Juan Ayguabibas, consultant
Owner: AFI (Autoridad del Financiamiento de la Infraestructura).
Starting date: dec. 2007; Completion date: Feb. 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of FUSTER + Partners Architects
The design of this facility follows the following premises:
• The design houses three main pools (swimming/polo, diving/synchronized swimming and practice/warm-up) that, against convention, were arranged separately from each other to gain functional and spatial autonomy. Circulation paths mediate between the landscaping and the sports areas unifying the pool areas. The circulation sequences are enhanced by interior patios that double as gathering areas.
• The compact and contained layout of the main building maximizes green spaces. Most of the existing trees where saved and incorporated into the project. Also, in section the building follows pre-existing contour levels in order to minimize its visual impact. Additional seating areas are resolved in section using an earth berm covered with grass. Natural lighting and ventilation is present in all principal spaces.
• A gallery runs from north to south serving as an access the top portion of the grass-covered berm. It is partly perforated with windows whose shape derives from the forms of the RUM (Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez) institutional logo.
• A blank wall with cantilevered diving platforms enhances the scenographic and performative aspects of the diving competition. Therefore, stairs and access areas are hidden behind the diving wall in order to focus the spectators’ attention solely on the diving exercises.
• Vertical skylights double as air chimneys that allow the hot air to escape the main spaces via opened fixed aluminum jalousies. These skylights also articulate entrance areas as well as defining hierarchical spaces.
• The typography for the ‘Natatorio’ logo was designed as part of the project.
• Exposed concrete surfaces with different patterns where used in order to control costs and minimize maintenance.
• As a future phase, the public seating roof will be incorporated as well as its integrated lighting system.