Het Marnix Swimming Pool and Sports Centre

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Architecture, Hotel / Leisure

Size: 5,400 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 2002 - 2003
Project Realisation: 2004 - 2006
Address: Marnixplein 1, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Client: Gemeente Amsterdam, stadsdeel Amsterdam Centrum

Programme: Sports centre with 2 indoor swimming pools of in total 1,505 m2 (a competition pool of 25 x 12,5 m and a recreational pool of 20 x 10 m), a sports hall 1.502 m2 (31,5 x 24,5 m.), fitness and spa of 565 m2, grand café-restaurant of 311 m2, offices of 152 m2, underground bicycle parking of 429 m2 and technical and traffic space of 986 m2.

Awards: Brick Award, Brick Development Association 2007

The new Het Marnix Sports Centre, with swimming and fitness facilities, is located on the site of the former Marnixbad. The old swimming complex from 1955 also housed various functions including a bathhouse and washhouse.

Although its function was obsolete, the striking old Marnixbad building inspired the new complex. The old pool was situated along the glass facade cantilevering above the canal.

Paying homage to this, Mecanoo chose transparency as its starting point and translated it in the new design into views, accessibility and legibility.The sports centre is composed of a basement floor from which three interconnected volumes emerge, each featuring a different facade.

Glazed sections of the facade facilitate views outwards and inwards so that the building engages dynamically with its surroundings. The swimming pools are located in the largest block.

The 25-metre competition pool fronts as openly as possible along a glass facade, while the adjacent learners’ pool feels more enclosed.

Upstairs is the sports hall, and a gym, aerobics and wellness space and offices are situated in the opposite block. Visitors enter the central glass volume, the main hub of the building with views into all other spaces. In the first floor cafe, parents can drink coffee while watching their children‘s swimming lessons.

The raised basement creates a plinth for the building that, in combination with the glass facade, matches the water level of the competition pool with the water outside, so swimmers feel like they’re doing laps at eye-level with the canal.

Alongside masonry, glass and aluminium, a section of the facade is made from translucent plastic that fills the complex with natural light by day and glows radiantly by night.

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