TeamIJsselstein (The Netherlands), Erik Slangen, Jakko Koenis, Robert de Boer, Joep Koenders
ClientMunicipality of Almere
Text description provided by the architects. Across from the existing top sport centre, in the green field development Olympia Kwartier (Olympia Quarter located in the new town Almere Poort which is part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area) a new indoor sports centre has been realized based on the 2521 Simply Swimming concept. This concept incorporates a high level of flexibility and expandability. The municipality of Almere has shown interest in the stacked version of the concept adding complementary functions such as sports halls and club rooms on top of the 2521 swimming pool.
The dimension of the pool in combination with a partly movable pool floor increases the flexibility and functionality of the swimming pool. Due to the clever floor plan with its compact layout and visual connections, the building can be operated more efficiently. Supporting functions, like changing rooms, offices and club rooms are positioned on the mezzanine floor. This floor also serves as a climatological buffer between the high temperature and humidity of the pool and the cooler climate in the sports hall. One of the principles of the 2521 concept is completely building above ground, eliminating the long building time and complexity that is associated with excavating the filter basement and basin. A wide range of sustainability measures including very high thermal insulation, innovative water treatment and building services installations ensure large reductions in operational costs. The ground floor level is mainly occupied by technical installations, however the main entrance and the adjacent commercial space create an open gesture towards the exterior surroundings.
The entrance gives access to an inviting central staircase that circles around the elevator shaft. This 'core', like a runway, runs from the bottom to the top of the building and, finished with stylish blue- black linoleum and characteristic graphical signage elements on walls and floor, it is designed to be a recognizable element in the building. On each floor this 'core' is expanded with a zone that houses facilitating functions. On the ground floor the core gives access to the main entrance; on the second floor to the reception, cafeteria and pool hall; on the fourth floor to the changing area, martial arts hall and club rooms; on the fifth floor to the sports hall and finally on the sixth floor to the spectator stands. In accordance with the 2521 concept, the interior of the complex is finished with a combination of fresh, functional finishes combined with warm wooden walls and ceiling surfaces. This creates a warm, but at the same time athletic atmosphere.
A complementary palette of vintage blues and light beige tints was chosen for the public areas, making them clearly recognizable and enhancing the orientation through the complex. The basic 2521 consists of a plinth upon which is stacked the volume containing the pool hall, cafeteria and changing rooms. Due to the large upper volume, a cantilever is created, making a strong visual gesture. The volumes appear to be two separate boxes that are stacked on top of each other. The building is firmly embedded in its surroundings. Interior spaces within the building are connected through large window openings in the facade with the public outside space. The warm interior shines through these glazes surfaces emphasizing the buildings character.
The lower box, the buildings' plinth, is cladded with robust anthracite fibre-cement panels. Light golden window frames, weather trims and fixings create stylish accents. The floors above are cladded with white profiled metal panels. This creates an interesting play of shadows and adds another layer to the geometry of the building. The light golden accents are also present in the upper volumes and connect to the warm interior finishing. At night the ambiance of the building changes because some windows are placed behind deep vertical louvres creating an even more explicit relationship between inside and outside. Thanks to its powerful geometry, its public character and contemporary materialization, the indoor sports centre provides a strong presence in the Olympia Kwartier. The building, which is an important addition to the sports facilities of the fast-growing city of Almere, has an outspoken urban quality, contributing an important factor to the public life of the Olympia Kwartier.