Kildeskovshallen was built in 1970 by Karen & Ebbe Clemmensen and it is one of the finest examples of expressive modernism in Denmark. The existing swimming pool is planned around a park. Here recreation and play are in focus in a light and almost ethereal atmosphere where the crowns of the trees outside are transformed into a spatial construction inside. The public bath by Clemmensen is a magnificent example of a ”relax-epoch” in Danish history.
The extension is going to house swimming competitions and thus it contrasts with the recreational space by Clemmensen. Dynamics replace repose in a building which works through contrasts.
The outer form of the project partly derives from a consideration for the existing building and its neighbours. Thus the large volume of the sports centre has been minimized considerably by digging the building somewhat into the ground and at the same time differentiating the section of the building.
The extension implies a precise hierarchy by placing the 50-meter pool as the absolute ”centrepiece” – one is tempted to add ”competition and nothing but competition as centre of attention”. Contrary to the classical swimming pool where the promenade deck and the pool are placed underneath the same roof, so to speak, pausing (promenading) is separated from swimming through the section of the building. From the bottom of the pool precise walls rise towards the level of the water which is raised 50 millimetres above the level of the promenade deck by the means of custommade tiles. From the walls of the swimming pool the heavenward flight is continued through tall and light canvas walls. An immense skylight construction covers the entire pool area. The horizontal space of Clemmensen is replaced by a vertical space in which each movement of the swimmer can be read. The canvas walls separate the promenade deck from the pool. For the swimmer who stands on the stool – ready to kick off – the impression will be that of jumping from one space into another – he is literally jumping into the lengthy and dynamic space of competition. This is the essence of the project.
Contrary to the infinite space above the competition pool the ”lid has been put on” the promenade deck and changing facilities. A gigantic slice from an exposed filigree deck creates a horizontal space which to the East is supported by in situ cast concrete walls and to the North and West opens towards a small park. As a continuation of the lengthy 50-meter pool a volume containing hot water pool/ therapy bath is to be found. This area is in the nature of a point – a place for resting. The two spaces are separated by a forest of columns which are carrying a low concrete ceiling. The modest height of the space marks the exterior separation of old from new, as a bike path is led on top. A the same time the low ceiling separates the different climates of the two pools. The hot water pool is placed centrally in a simple space with tall in situ cast concrete walls. Daylight enters high up above the water through a horizontal strip of windows and through a central skylight. An intimite atmosphere arises – both as a contrast to the pools of Clemmensen and to that of the 50-meter pool.
The sandcoloured tiling of the floor unites the old complex with the new. In fact all other materials in the new pool differ from those of the old: Where Clemmensen’s choice of materials represents beautiful workmanship and refined constuction methods the new pool makes use of the inherent contrast between delicate and coarse/ light and heavy materials as an important architectural element. The extension reflects a choice of materials which is considerably more coarse and masculine
The construction of the building is closely connected to the section of the pool area and it has been exposed as a principal architectural element. Three solid concrete columns are placed along the two long sides of the 50-meter pool. The columns support two gigantic lattice girders ( 60 metres long). The girders carry the lower concrete roof construction which is suspended from the girders. Additionally the lattice girders support the entire skylight construction covering the total area of the 50-meter pool (50 by 12,5 metres). The lattice girders are placed on the warm side of the construction but are not fire protected as calculations of the total fire impact proved it unnecessary. On the exterior the lattice girders are clad in etched glass – which against the light clearly reveals the lattice of the girders. Facing the pool canvas walls are suspended from the skylight lining up with the walls of the pool. Between canvas and etched glass a maintenance passage emerge. At this place ventilation channels are placed and plain lighting fixtures are installed in a simple pattern which has been co-ordinated with the rhythm of the lattice beam.