In designing this new building within the Chinese Embassy compound to enclose an existing 25 x 10m in ground swimming pool, Townsend + Associates Architects have provided a place of reflection and beauty; a building that allows its users to bathe in light as well as water.
The building’s apparent simplicity belies its technical complexity. Housed within a tightly constrained site, the new building is unmistakably a modern insertion into the traditionally themed architecture of the site. Yet, through subtle reflection of colour and forms, the building acknowledges the traditional expressions of its neighbours.
The entire building envelope is highly insulated, double glazed and fully thermally broken. The double skinned Uform glazing incorporates a LowE coating to further improve thermal performance. A new state-of-the-art ozone water treatment system requires very low chemical input for extremely high water quality and reduces the corrosive chlorine environment normally associated with indoor pools.
It is a glass pavilion that glows with light all year around flooded with sun in winter and deliciously shaded in summer. Despite its refined appearance the building is highly functional and decorative through its expressed steel structure and simple palette of materials: glass, steel and timber.
TECHNICAL INFORMATION: • The project involves the enclosure of the existing 25 x 10 metre outdoor swimming pool to enable the use of the pool throughout the year. • The existing change rooms and saunas remain and are connected are to the pool. • The existing pool equipment has been replaced and up-graded. The new water treatment equipment uses an ozone system that requires only a small amount of chemicals to maintain a maximum safe water quality. • The ozone water treatment system reduces the ‘chlorine chemical’ smell significantly within the pool enclosure. There is also a significant reduction in the corrosive environment associated with chlorine based water treatment systems. • The heating of the pool water is by gas fired boiler. The existing solar hot water system is also utilised for heating the pool water. • The project has involved up-grading of gas and electrical services. • The pool enclosure walls are constructed mainly of ‘Uform’ glass walling system. The ‘Uform’ glass is doubled skinned with a Low E treatment applied to the internal panel. The aluminium frames are thermally broken. The glass façade has a lightly opaque appearance which will reduce glare within the space. The glass façade is designed to perform well thermally and help to minimise running costs. • The structure is steel which has been finished in a high durability paint suitable for pool environments. • The roof is very well insulated to reduce running costs. • The roof of the space has north-facing high-light windows to provide extensive winter sun into the pool space. The high-light windows are also open to allow for natural ventilation when required. • The pool enclosure is fully air conditioned with heating, cooling and de-humidification. The tiled area around the pool has cast in-slab, gas-fired hydronic heating installed for energy efficient additional heating. • The building can be opened-up in summer or warm weather by opening windows and doors and naturally ventilating the pool space. • A timber deck has been provided on the North West corner of the building to provide a sunny outdoor recreational space connected to the pool. • An insulated pool blanket will be installed to help maintain the heated water temperature when the pool is not in use. This will significantly reduce the running costs of maintaining the water temperature at approximately 26 degrees Celsius.