Hong Kong’s futuristic new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool, designed by Farrells, has won a 2017 American Architecture Prize in the Recreational Architecture category.
Completed earlier this year, the pool complex includes a 50-metre outdoor pool, an outdoor leisure pool, indoor and outdoor massage baths, a 50-metre indoor pool, and an indoor training pool. It also incorporates an outdoor garden sheltered beneath the tip of the building’s characteristic roof.
Built on a derelict lot beside Victoria Harbour, the pool has helped rejuvenate a forgotten corner of otherwise vibrant Kennedy Town, a historic district not far from Hong Kong’s city centre.
“We have been working in Kennedy Town now for nearly a decade,” commented Stefan Krummeck, a director at Farrells. “This is one of the most exciting and characterful districts in Hong Kong, and we sought to contribute to that by designing this pool as a new community hub with a dynamic architectural form.”
The building owes its distinctive shape to the unique triangular site. Inspired by a shell, the building addresses the main road and tram entrance to Kennedy Town, serving as an icon for the community.
The form of the sweeping zinc roof responds to the building’s context: the orientation of the outdoor pool maximises views of Victoria Harbour and the outlying islands, while shielding swimmers from the noise and pollution of the main bus and tram routes to the east. Natural zinc’s self-healing properties and uniform ultimate patina was appropriate for a building constructed in two phases with a six-year gap in between.
Key criteria for the selection of materials for the facade and roof were light weight, ability to span the pool hall, transparency, and performance against solar gain. Laminated glass with a high performance PVB layer was chosen for window walls while insulated PTFE membrane was used for the roof skylight, flooding the indoor pool hall with pleasant, diffuse natural light. Operable windows allow for natural ventilation of indoor spaces, reducing reliance on air conditioning.
Project fact sheet
End user—Leisure and Cultural Services Department (Hong Kong Government)
Phase 1 accommodation (outdoor pools)
Outdoor pool (50 metres)
Outdoor children’s leisure pool
Temporary accommodation (lifeguard rooms, storage)
Phase 2 accommodation (indoor pools)
Indoor secondary pool (50 metres)
Indoor training pool (25 metres)
Outdoor sitting-out area
Decanting of temporary uses to permanent accommodation
Phase 1 opening date—11 May 2011
Phase 2 opening date—7 February 2017
Gross floor area—11,782 m2
Founded in 1965, Farrells are architects and urban designers who excel in urban placemaking and strive for sustainability. Their portfolio of built work includes contextual urban design schemes, supertall skyscrapers, residential and commercial projects, cultural and leisure centres, government headquarters, and some of the largest transport interchanges in the world. Please visit www.farrells.com for more information.