HONG KONG -- The first phase of Farrells' curvaceous new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool building has opened in Hong Kong. Farrells zinc-clad design defines a new gateway to Kennedy Town by reclaiming a constrained site at a prominent junction as an asset for the community. Conceived as “a building in the park” the new Kennedy Town Pool will extend local green space by using landscaping, tree planting and green walls to form a link between the neighbouring Belcher Bay Park and a proposed waterfront park on the Victoria Bay quayside.
Phase one provides two outdoor pools with dramatic uninterrupted views of Victoria Harbour and Belcher Bay Park. Phase two, scheduled for completion in 2017, will add two indoor pools and two indoor jacuzzis contained beneath a columnless roof of transparent ETFE cushions and separated from phase one by a sliding wall of glass, which can be opened during the summer, uniting the pool complex. The use of ETFE not only maximises the views from the pool building but provides an open, uninterrupted span above the pool which maximises the use of daylight, offers excellent thermal insulation and is acoustically transparent, a characteristic that will reduce the echoing acoustics so common in swimming pool buildings.
The new pool is built on what is essentially a triangular in-fill site formed by three roads. This brownfield land, which was formerly used as a car park, occupies a prominent position overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and marks the entrance to Kennedy Town when approached from Connaught Road West, Queens Road West or via the area’s historic tram system. The low-rise, curving elevation of the building responds to the harbour while minimising obstruction of views towards the water from both Belcher Street and the neighbouring residential buildings.
Farrells was commissioned in 2007 by the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) to design a new swimming pool for Kennedy Town as a replacement for an earlier facility in the area which was to be demolished to make way for a new Metro station for the West Island Line (WIL) extension project. One of the planning conditions of the WIL extension project was that work could not begin on the station until Phase 1 of the new pool was in operation. The finished pool complex will provide both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, jacuzzis, changing facilities and their associated management and plant rooms. The phased construction of the pool allows half the site to be used as a base for construction work on the WIL extension.