4a Architekten redevelop indoor aquatic centre in Leonberg, Germany

June 12, 2014

The aim of the redevelopment was to increase the appeal and feel-good factor of the baths and sports halls and to update the technical features of the building.

The sports centre in Leonberg re-opened its doors to visitors at the start of the year. In a local referendum the people of Leonberg voted by a clear majority in favour of the redevelopment of the existing sports centre. This not only involved a new build but also to give the existing structure a new distinctive form. The aim of the redevelopment was to increase the appeal and feel-good factor of the baths and sports halls and to update the technical features of the building.

The redevelopment of the sports centre dating from the 1970s was divided into two stages of construction. During the first stage, the two sports halls and the bathing hall were refurbished with adjoining rooms and technical installations while the outdoor facilities were partly remodelled.

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The second phase involves the restructuring and complete redevelopment of the sauna area, comprising a sauna with a view and a sauna garden. While the indoor swimming pool and the two sports halls have been open to bathers and sportspeople since February 2014, the structural conversion work in the sauna area will begin shortly.

The triangular shape of the bathing hall continues to characterise the building complex. In order to optimise energy efficiency, all the glass facades in the building have been replaced (the renewal of the front sides will be carried out in the summer of 2014) – the external appearance of the sports centre therefore remains virtually unchanged.

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All the more surprising is the interior of the refurbished and remodelled building complex. The aim here was to optimise the sports centre with regard to its functional requirements and atmospheric effect using minor structural measures. In order to achieve this, the architects have created new floor plans and optimised the layout of routes in the foyer and adjoining rooms.

The contemporary material and colour design lends the interior an identity of its own and ensures that the whole building gives a pleasant sense of space. The entire building technology has also been updated – only parts of the bathing water equipment have been retained.

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Since redevelopment, the previously dark entrance area of the sports centre now has an open, bright appearance and has a friendly atmosphere. The glazed entrance facade now offers views into the redesigned foyer. The reorganisation gives this a far more spacious feel – turnstiles and lockers have been moved further back and the partition between the bistro and the bathing hall has been fully glazed.

Maximum transparency and flowing transitions are also provided by the flexible folding glass partition wall between the bistro area and the foyer as well as the half-height glazing opening on to the adjoining administration office area. The concrete surfaces in the entrance area have been repainted and the floor has been re-tiled.

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For the purposes of orientation, the architects have taken up the old colour guidance system that characterises the whole building with its colour coding: blue guides visitors to the bathing hall while green leads them to the changing areas; orange shows the way to the large sports hall and yellow indicates the way to the gymnasium.

A striking element in the foyer is the existing concrete coffered ceiling. The inner surfaces of the coffers have been painted in accordance with the colours of the routing system, leading visitors to the different areas of the building. Some of the square fields create visual highlights with illuminated ceilings that have been crafted especially for this project. This allows the existing ceiling structure to remain clear to read, while the foyer has been given an entirely new identity through the use of colour and lighting design.

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The large bathing hall comprises a pool for swimmers, a learners’ pool and a children’s pool. All the original pools and pool surrounds have been left intact. The refurbishment work in this area has mainly been concentrated on the ceiling, which has been replaced throughout the baths while the brown timber roof trusses have been painted in white.

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The ceiling’s colour design eye-catching is with a pattern of green, yellow and blue panels deriving from the triangular form of the roof. The significant work of art in the bathing hall – an undulating lamp design between the swimmers’ and learners pools – has been retained and painted white.

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A glass balustrade separates the toddlers’ area from the bathing hall. New components include a glazed cabin for the pool attendant as well as a slide. A pleasant atmosphere is created by the indirect lighting design on the slanted ceiling, downlights along the pool surround, and coved lighting that marks the entrance to the shower area.

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The changing areas and showers for the pools and sports halls have been stripped down to the building shell and formally redesigned. Higher ceilings and new surfaces provide a pleasant feeling of space. Large-format mosaic floor tiles with a variety of colour gradients in combination with beige wall and floor tiles, coloured lockers and furniture made from brushed alder wood give a high welcoming quality to the changing areas and showers. Round ceiling lights lend a relaxed ambience and greatly enhance this area.

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Almost all the surfaces in the two sports halls were also replaced during the redevelopment while the facades were insulated from within – only the floor coverings have been kept in their original form. The walls are now clad with new baffle walls with a limewood veneer. Selected concrete surfaces and the dark wooden panelling have been repainted. The primarily white appearance – the new ceiling panels with ceiling fittings have also been designed in white – gives the sports halls a bright, friendly atmosphere.

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LED light lines on the ceilings provide ample illumination. The new transparent glazing in the small gymnasium also allows a greater amount of daylight to enter than the formerly opaque window surfaces, thereby opening the room up the outside. The retractable spectators stand in the large sports hall has also been replaced and designed in limewood which matches the baffle walls.

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The redevelopment has given the sports centre architectural quality, brightness and atmosphere. The functional procedures have also been significantly improved: the newly installed elevator, for example, now facilitates disabled access to the building.

Client: City of Leonberg
Architect: 4a Architekten GmbH

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