published in sb 3/2017
Light and motion
Norway is currently experiencing a construction and design boom. Cities and municipalities are requesting funds to replace their 60- to 70-year-old facilities. Røyken municipality, NCC Building AS, NUNO Arkitektur AS and Rambøll AS engineers developed this project which is being funded by the Røyken and Hurum municipalities in a cooperation on a 95/5 basis. Røykenbadet has the appearance as a concentrated and uniform facility comprising swimming facilities, a fitness centre and a health centre.
Røykenbadet lies in Røyken municipality, a short hour drive west of Oslo. The municipality’s goal was to create a public swimming pool and health centre that would inspire activity. Røykenbadet exploits the nature of the location by placing all the technical features and pools on the terrain and offering a building that, through its clear, unique form, expression and material use, adapts to and stands confidently in the landscape. Additionally, the facility provides clear functions with distinctive features and quality while facilitating orientation, readability and 100% universal design availability for all users.
Upon arrival, the guests are acclimatised by passing two artistic lighting arrangements before entering the building. The activity area encourages users to stay, act and play. Images of water in different forms fill the space. The general lighting is supported by a light installation using gobo projection. The lighting creates patterns on the ground that simulate water in different states: drizzling water drops, rubbing ice flakes, silting streams, boiling water and water with ripples.
The swimming pool is located on one level without a gap between the forefront and the swimming pool. The building’s biggest height is above the plunge/diving pool; it is lower in the 25m-pool area, and the lowest and most intimate area is in the therapy pool and sauna area. The pools are open to the surroundings on the ground floor, partly to bring the outdoors inside, and partly for better exposure of the activities, so that the building can inspire activity. The parts of the facility that are dedicated to health services are located next to the main pool. The swimming pool and the fitness centre have common changing rooms and share the spacious lobby. This allows flexible use of the area and interaction between different areas.
Intuitive floor plan
The building is organised in a way that most features are visible from the foyer offering visual contact between the different activities. The intention is to make the sporting activities visible to increase the desire to try the different activities and show what kind of life exists in the building.
The concentration of the water surfaces provides good user qualities with close proximity, good lighting and visual contact. All are essential for the experience in a bathing facility. On the other hand, the design allows clear zone sharing and shielding of different user groups.
The building is universally designed. Organised with a simple, intuitive floor plan the design minimises accidents and reduces effort. Along with the intuitive design comes clear information and guidance so that any guest can easily orientate himself.
The wall surfaces have acoustic wall absorbers in a darker tone and the ceiling is made of solid pine wood elements for acoustic, functional and aesthetic reasons. This meets the building’s requirements to provide a „warm“ and comfortable room experience. All public toilets have tiled floors and walls to achieve contrasts with the doors and porcelain equipment.
The façade design of the main building is based on openness with consistent high glass panels that provide good exposure. The glass façades are made of a lacquered aluminium system. The dense façade of the swimming pool has airborne cladding in natural stone 30-mm-Røyken-granite and processed from local quarries.
The dynamics of the outdoor light installations are essential, as water is characterised by its constant motion and dynamics. The luminaire used has a number of dynamic effects like zoom, change of focal point, and colour change. In addition to the gobo pattern, the space is also gently bathed in blue-green light.
On the way to the swimming pool, a light installation with submerged light-emitting solar rays in the foyer creates a sense of being underwater for the user. Dynamic programmed lighting supports this association. The installation itself is made of Plexiglas tubes in several green and blue colours. At the top of each tube a programmable RGBW spot makes it function as a long luminaire. In addition, a pair of adjustable downlights aims to emphasise further the installation. All pools except the children’s pool are made as steel pools with internal lighting.
Heating and cooling
31 energy wells were drilled down to 300 metres below the ground. These provide both heating and cooling. Facilities like Røykenbadet have extremely high energy consumption. So in order to reduce it, heat is recovered from dehumidification aggregates. The excess heat is then used to heat the water in the pools. The outdoor whirlpool and the cold pool are operated throughout the winter and summer period. These are emptied back into tanks in the cellar during the night to save energy.
It’s no secret that Norway is open to innovative and sustainable solutions. So it is hardly surprising that stainless steel pools are becoming established in new indoor swimming facilities. Along with their unbeatable environmental benefits, this material is also extremely attractive because of its amenability to hygienic, pore-free and easy cleaning.
The short period allocated for construction of Røykenbadet was a big challenge for the general contractor, and it was here that another property of the pool’s material came to the fore – its rapid installation. Together with precast concrete elements and an innovative solution for the transition from the stainless steel to the concrete structure, construction was completed in a very short time. Røykenbadet was, besides other things, therefore handed over already one year after the first concrete elements had arrived at the building site.
On the basis of an analysis of the pool water, stainless steel 316L was chosen, i.e. the material that is most frequently used for swimming pools across Europe. The structurally self-supporting design with water depths of up to 2.5 metres reduces the function of the concrete structure enclosing the pool to the principal one of withstanding the pressure of the water. A watertight concrete basin is no longer necessary, and this also reduces construction time.
The number of necessary pipes is reduced to a minimum. The clean water for the 25 x 15 m swimming pool, for example, is supplied via two floor ducts, each of which is fed by a single pipe. The dimensioning of the overflows with large cross sections to match the various pool sizes also reduces the pipework for the return flow of used water. As lightweight structures, stainless steel pools have only half the carbon footprint of tiled reinforced concrete pools and thus make a key contribution to sustainability.