Going swimmingly

04 Jul 2011

Ronald Lu & Partners use a synergy of architecture and engineering for a climatic-responsive building

Comprising a 50m indoor heated-pool with 960-seat spectator stand and an outdoor 25m teaching-pool, Tung Chung Swimming Pool is a public facility for residents in Tung Chung New Town in the suburban area of Hong Kong.

Reflecting its coastal locality and function of an aquatic sports venue, the design takes the concept of a sea shell resting on the shore and shaped in an organic and aerodynamic profile using a double-layer PTFE tensioned membrane over a light-weight long-span steel truss system. This tensile membrane performs as a sustainable building envelope allowing daylight to infiltrate through it so that, in all seasons, users staying indoor can bathe in diffused and glare-free natural light. With the membrane's high-albedo nature and low thermal transmission value due to a layer of insulating air trapped between the double-layer membrane, this cool roof contributes to the indoor thermal comfort which is crucial to a naturally ventilated building in a sub-tropical climate. This flexible roof also helps to attenuate noise in the indoor pool which is essential to users' comfort and life guards' awareness of drowning call.

Sustainable design continues at the perimeter of indoor pool where 4m high transparent roller shutters are designed along the pool side at deck level which will be fully opened in fine weather condition to allow breeze prevailing across the indoor pool environment and for swimmers to stretch their activities from indoor to outdoor for uninterrupted contact with sunlight and fresh air. In winter time, the shutters are closed and ventilation ductworks integrated in the triangular roof trusses above the pool and along the low-level ring beam supply warm air for indoor thermal comfort and warm up the membrane to avoid condensation. The insulated low-E glazed windows of the glass walls above the ring beam are electrically operable to further enhance natural ventilation across the pool hall environment.

Outside the pool hall where people queue up between opening sections, the crush hall is designed as a semi-outdoor space sheltered with frosted-glass skylight so that crowd is protected from intense heat and sun glare in summer.

The whole design aims to create a fresh spatial experience for residents enjoyment and a community icon in this new town.   

Key Facts

Hong Kong
Civic Buildings

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