The new Aquatic Center simultaneously creates a new model for family and water-based recreational tourism while redefining the public role of such an amenity within the city. The Center immediately strives to connect to all adjacent public infrastructures by bringing the riverfront promenade and the pedestrian movement alongside the hydroelectric dam directly into the lobby.

The creation of two significant exterior public spaces programmed with casual water activities alludes to the more intense purpose served by the Center and allows the public to engage the project in a more passive capacity. To further enhance the public life of the Center, retail space is provided on the eastern edge of the project at street level, below the parking garage, intending to create a diversification of program and usage types. The retail program is replicated directly above as a transitional program on the upper circulation system within the Center bridging between the heart of the aquatic facility and the residential tower on the southern edge.

In order to promote and accommodate year-round tourism, the Aquatic Center features complete indoor pool facilities including swimming and diving pools, leisure pools of varying natures and temperatures, play pools for children and complete on-site spa facilities. The connection to water throughout is intimate and of a direct nature. The spa level descends partially into the site where its relationship to the swimming lagoon is further enhanced and differentiated. The Center’s outdoor amenities are just as comprehensive with a series of exterior pools surrounded by a raised sun deck and pool level cabanas for relaxation. Associated changing facilities and an open-air café and restaurant further augment the experience. Anchoring the southern edge of the Center is a residential tower featuring over 80 rental units and 6 special suites that are sited directly into the water, creating a unique connection to the lagoon. The residential tower responds to the adjacent, planned context in usage and scale while simultaneously creating a semi-private condition for the southern edge of the swimming lagoon.

The swimming lagoon is carved into the site with a surrounding sandy beach defining two discrete areas of varying privacy. Ensuring that the swimming lagoon remains a sustainable amenity, our approach seeks to filter the abundant Miyi rainwater and the adjacent Anning River as primary sources of water. Bio-remediation technology will be implemented to filter and purify the water through a system of bio-films and low-energy consumption pumps that contain hungry micro-organisms that feed on pollutants in the water. A landscape roof has been integrated above the parking garage, serving as an elevated garden and more critically as a means for rainwater collection and reduction of the local heat island effect. Currently under consideration due to the favorable climate are various passive solar strategies that strive to meet provincial requirements of reducing building energy consumption by 50% compared to 1980s levels.

Project Team: Mario Cipresso, Irina Krusteva, Stephen Morton