A sportsfacility 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 design by architects ZJA that integrates these different functions in a smart and compact building.

The entrance to the building is on the park side. That way the entrance hall becomes part of the ‘park square’ as it was labelled in the masterplan, providing a view towards a varied and green landscape. The hall itself 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

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.

There are two floors with a recreational pool (including slides) and a pool for competitive swimmers, with a separate springboard and diving tower. On the first floor an outside terrace can be found and on the second floor a terrace 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 wooden accents and the high ceilings make for a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The use of wood also has a useful acoustic function, so important in sports facilities.


Client: Sportoase
Year: 2017 - present
Project #1069