VALDEMOROS (ES) - A wave-like roof announces Alberto Nicolau's new swimming pool in Valdemoros.
By the time Alberto Nicolau (b. 1967) graduated from the School of Architecture in Madrid in 1995, he had already gained some work experience in the office of Alison & Peter Smithson and with Soriano y asociados. After graduation, he worked for two years at Foster & Partners, then in the office of Rafael Moneo until 2002. Meanwhile, he won Europan 5 (in collaboration with M. Dominguez) with his design for a suburban loop in Almere, the Netherlands. Nicolau is currently working on many projects in Spain, in collaboration with other architects. This swimming pool is one of his first solo projects.
The building is situated on a sloping, rectangular parcel of land covering some 8000 m2. The brief called for a clearly recognizable public building that was also integrated with the environment. Viewed from the road above, the roof resembles a fifth facade. The location and the roof are thus the key to the design: a container building with an undulating roof mimicking the ripples of the water inside.
The programme extends over four floors: basement (pools), lower floor (offices), ground floor (public areas with pool access) and first floor (building services area). Two main materials are used: the base of the building is of reinforced concrete poured on site, while the superstructure is made of steel. The steel structure emulates the wave-like shape of the long elevation, covering a 50-metre span. For this the architect designed triangular trusses which, despite their size, appear quite light, allowing the curved strips of the roof to retain their compositional prominence. The trusses and the polycarbonate strips outline areas resembling waves, creating a feeling of continuous movement that can be experienced both inside and out. The roof strips are also crucial to the building's horizontal stability.
The lateral openings in the building are the main source of daylight which creates a fascinating play of reflections on the roof – a crucible of blues and bright colours which architect Alberto Nicolau used to reproduce the sensation of being under the water and looking upwards.
The centre has two pools, a 25-metre competition pool and an 18.5-metre 'teaching' pool. There is also a summer garden, which fulfils the role of a solarium. The entire external framework of the building is aluminium, as are the internal and external walls, which are panelled with narrow-gauge corrugated aluminium. The entrance lobby is the only exception. It is faced with black-painted GRC (glass-reinforced cement) imprinted with super-scale graphics spelling out PISCINA, swimming pool.
November | 2007 | Spain | Ariadna Cantis