The new Het Marnix Sports Centre, with swimming and fitness facilities, is located on the site of the former Marnixbad. The old swimming complex from 1955 also housed various functions including a bathhouse and washhouse.
Although its function was obsolete, the striking old Marnixbad building inspired the new complex. The old pool was situated along the glass facade cantilevering above the canal.
Paying homage to this, Mecanoo chose transparency as its starting point and translated it in the new design into views, accessibility and legibility.The sports centre is composed of a basement floor from which three interconnected volumes emerge, each featuring a different facade.
Glazed sections of the facade facilitate views outwards and inwards so that the building engages dynamically with its surroundings. The swimming pools are located in the largest block.The 25-metre competition pool fronts as openly as possible along a glass facade, while the adjacent learners’ pool feels more enclosed.
Upstairs is the sports hall, and a gym, aerobics and wellness space and offices are situated in the opposite block. Visitors enter the central glass volume, the main hub of the building with views into all other spaces. In the first floor cafe, parents can drink coffee while watching their children‘s swimming lessons.
The raised basement creates a plinth for the building that, in combination with the glass facade, matches the water level of the competition pool with the water outside, so swimmers feel like they’re doing laps at eye-level with the canal.
Alongside masonry, glass and aluminium, a section of the facade is made from translucent plastic that fills the complex with natural light by day and glows radiantly by night.