The site and its context
Brittany, France. The Châteaulin swimming pool will be located on the edge of town, along a curve in the banks of the Aulne river. The project is part of a larger ensemble of public works, which together will constitute a sports and recreation center at the scale of the provincial city and the extended region. The site has remained rural. On a gentle slope to the river, the adjacent historic tow path traverses a countryside that alternates between cultivated fields and wooded areas, punctuated by the occasional windmill. The project unites educational activities, sports and leisure. It will be a gathering space, centered in a compact shape, settled in its site, and open to its surroundings.
Architectural statement and general organizational principles
A perfect circle, within its simple geometry, the project integrates variety of functions. The building is transpierced by an invisible east/west axis that divides the building into two distinct halves. The northern half, where the three principle entrances (public, school-children and technical) are located, is characterized alternating opaque and transparent spaces, entrance halls, rest-rooms, bleachers, administrative offices and machine rooms. In the southern half, the swimming pools open onto the landscape. A clearstory and large bay windows create a new perspective onto the surrounding countryside. The radiating lines perpendicular to the exterior circle make for an easy understanding of the converging paths from the separate restrooms towards the communal bathing areas. While the bleachers, the pools and the solarium reinforce the general orientation of the building towards the south, a vertical dynamic is added to the horizontal development of the building. The section cut of the second level is visible from below, and is connected to the ground floor by the waterslide that swoops around the interior facade.
Site integration and landscaping
Sustainability a major object, the project has a green roof, new plantings to the north and around the parking lot, and a total preservation of the existing landscape to the south. The project positively exploits the site's natural declivity, tucking the parking lot out of view from the main road. Inserted between a berm and the building, the parking lot is in shade for most of the day. The grassed surface integrates the parking lot with the surrounding field. As all parking is located exclusively on the northern side, the southern side is free of technical intervention. The solarium is raised one meter above the meadow, forming a separation between the mineral swimming pools and the abundant plant life beyond. Thus the natural slope of the site is again brought into play to render vertical barriers such as walls and fencing unnecessary. The green roof inscribes the building into the site. Mimetic, the building almost disappears into the landscape, its curves entering into play with the surrounding hills.