architecture : urban : visual culture

Location, Assimilation - Municipal Swimming Pool and Sport Academy

During the design process of the Balatonfüred Municipal Swimming Pool and Sport Academy Tamás Varga DLA wanted to create a functional, simple, contemporary but still environmentally fitted building, whose assimilation is reflected by its material use and a very personal inspiration to incorporate vine-arbours into its appearance.


... at the very beginning of the planning process, I used to walk around the future building site, looking at the vineyard closely, trying to dig deep into the atmosphere of this historic wine region. I was trying to wrap my mind around the thought that I’ll have to cut down these vine-arbours, but I was sure, that I’ll find a way to keep part of them and integrate the soul of the winery and the lines of the vine-stocks into the final design. My childhood memories also came forward: the carefree hours and days spent running around the wineries, watching and helping the workers. The workers who had to deal with the extremely rocky soil.

The idea presented itself: I simply cannot ignore this symbolic material in the design of the facade. In spite of the well-designed concept, the thought of losing the vine-arbours was a worrying one. But I hoped that the surrounding environment of our building will keep its historical view. And so we did, what we could, to keep the memory: the steel wires of the facade are mirroring the vine-stocks. The coating of the facade is gabion wall filled with the white limestone pieces of the mine at Balatonfüred. The rocks, however, that we’ve found at the building site, sadly could not be used without an official labeling – this is why we were lucky to have found the quality rocks at the local stone-pit.

Balatonfüred Municipal Swimming Pool and Sport Academy - architect: Tamás Varga DLA

These feelings and hopes were finally turned into an architectural will, that was developed with a rational approach, keeping in mind all of the structural and energetic requirements. When the coating of the facade was finished, and the stone shoulders were applied onto the attic walls, I got the feeling that we managed to heal the wound that we inflicted upon the natural environment.

The final appearance of the building was affected by several usual and unusual aspects, keeping in mind the requests of the municipal decision-makers, while the investment and operational processes were thought through at the very beginning of the planning. One of the main basic rules was that the profitable operating – on the long run – was only secured by building a short-lane swimming pool. This pool size is perfect for training the next generation of water polo players, suitable for all of the local students, and also eligible for public use. Besides the everyday requirements, the building was constructed in the name of sustainability and environmental consciousness.

Balatonfüred Municipal Swimming Pool and Sport Academy - architect: Tamás Varga DLA

The principles and the intentions of the planning were to create a functional, simple, contemporary but still environmentally fitted building. Sustainability and consciousness were not an extra demand, but something that was integrated at the very beginning, as the basis of the blueprints. The answers were found in local materials, traditions, historically "smart" solutions, functional retracings and thoughtfully sized premises with a low-key technology level. Not forgetting, of course, those structural and engineering solutions which are essential for the perfect functioning.

Tamas Varga DLA



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