Sports Centre Sportoase Groot Schijn, designed by architectural studios ZJA and OM/AR and commissioned by Sportoase, has been awarded a special mention in the ‘Gyms & Recreation Centers’ category of the Architizer A+Awards. A prestigious international architecture prize regarded by the profession as an important accolade.
The exceptional sports complex in Deurne in Belgium brings together two water worlds under one roof. The combination is unique, and it required an extraordinary design. ZJA and OM/AR succeeded in cleverly combining the two very different functions in a compact, orderly and user-friendly building.
Reinald Top (architect/partner at ZJA) says, ‘We are enormously proud of the honourable mention from the Architizer A+Awards and the worldwide appreciation for the unique Sports Centre Sportoase Groot Schijn that it represents. Here you can swim, dive from the board and dive under water, but you can also learn to skate or watch ice hockey matches or figure skating, or enjoy sitting on the terrace. We have deliberately brought ice and water close together and within sight of each other in the entrance, the circulation areas and the cafeteria. Nevertheless, combining them in one large, compact building does not result in a place that looks cluttered. The multifunctionality has been designed based on its advantages, its shared requirements, and with an eye to simplicity and clarity.’
Connection with the surroundings
Sports Centre Sportoase Groot Schijn is a pleasant and attractive environment for sportspeople and visitors. The complex consists of a large-scale and complicated combination of six swimming pools (two recreational pools, a 25-metre pool, an instruction pool, a pool with water slides and an outdoor pool) with two skating rinks plus rooms for fitness training, dance, martial arts and catering. The frontage, clad with wood that was applied in strips to break up the surfaces, reduces the visual impact of the large building, so that it fits seamlessly into Groot Schijn Park.
Compact, orderly and user-friendly
The tall, transparent entrance warmly invites visitors to come inside. There too the wooden panelling rhymes with the green surroundings, and there are views through to the recreational pools on the second floor and outside onto the terrace. The building has been designed around a core, with the functions that swimming pools and ice rinks share stacked in layers. The layout strives for orderliness and user-friendliness, reinforced by the admittance of daylight through the transparent roof and glass frontage. The views that connect the different levels and functions also ensure openness and clarity, and the tall spaces and colour accents make for a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. In the summer months it’s delightful to relax in the outdoor pool and the summer bar on the roof terrace, which beckons from a great distance.
The Jury of the 11th annual Architizer A+ Awards made its choice based on functional and aesthetic qualities, while also taking into account innovation and sustainability. From June all the award-winning projects will be on display in the gallery of the Architizer A+ Awards.
Architect: ZJA (Amsterdam) in collaboration with OM/AR (Antwerp)
Commissioned by: Sportoase (Antwerp)
Landscape architect: OMGEVING (Antwerp)
Building contractor: Groep Van Roey (Rijkevorsel)
Location: Deurne (Antwerp, Belgium)
Year: 2017 – 2021