A sports facility in a green zone

In Deurne, on the eastern rim of the city of Antwerp, right in the middle of Ruggeveld Park, lies a special sports building. One can swim, practice springboard diving and learn to use diving equipment, but also learn to skate, and cheer for the local ice hockey club or watch a game of figure skating, all under the same roof. This unique combination required a special ZJA design that integrates these different functions in a smart and compact building.

The hall of the sports centre is high and inviting, actually a kind of covered square, that has several levels and staircases. Slender columns and a glass roof enhance the lively and open atmosphere. There is a rhyme between the horizontal wooden panelling and the green outdoors. Openings give a view onto the pools, that are partly outside and partly on a balcony on the second floor.

Water and ice

Having entered the entrance hall a choice has to be made between liquid and frozen water. The ice rink is to the left, the swimming pool to the right. The entire building is conceived around a centre that stacks the floors with functions that are shared by swimming pool and ice rink. Those are: dressing rooms, fitness rooms and the cafeteria. From this cafeteria, that also has a terrace outside, one not only has a view of the pools, but also of the ice rink. The stands for the ice hockey games are accessed through the cafeteria.

The swimming pool has a recreational pool (including slides) and a pool for competitive swimmers featuring a separate springboard and diving tower. Furthermore a relax area with saunas and a steam bath. On the second floor a terrace can be found with two outside pools, surrounded by a lawn. The building is conceived to accommodate all forms of swimming and diving, recreational and competitive, for young and old, from swimming for babies to rehabilitation therapy and all as conveniently as possible.

The big ice rink is meant for ice hockey training, games and figure skating, but there is a smaller ice rink as well, meant for skating lessons and recreation (like parties with a skating theme).

Compact and clear

The two worlds of sports, on ice and in the water are intentionally positioned in each other’s proximity and view. Though there are multiple pools and two ice rinks in this building, the combination of all this in one large and compact design does not feel like a complex and hectic environment. The design follows the advantages of the meshing of functions and needs and aims for simplicity and clarity.

The lay out of the building is designed to give overview and provide convenient use. This is also achieved by allowing daylight in through a transparent roof and a glass facade. All different levels and functions are connected by openings and sight lines that enhance the experience of openness and clarity. The colourful accents and the high ceilings make for a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.


Client: Sportoase
Year: 2017 - present
Project #1069