ALN Atelien Architecture – a French-Italian architectural firm based in Milan and Paris, together with Euclid Ingénierie, R Agence, Etamine and EAI, won the tender called by Chambéry Métropole to build a new swimming centre, in an area undergoing development near the city centre of Chambéry. Dedicated to local citizens, the facility consists of a 4,800-sq.m building with a 900-sq.m area of indoor swimming pools and a 6750-sq.m summer lido with a 900-sq.m water surface, and will accommodate more than 232,000 users every year from 2019.
A large modular metal shed roof evokes the industrial nature of the site. Inside, a perspective view of a first functional unit allows a glimpse of the wide area dedicated to wellness and sports pools. In the background, beyond the windows, a summer lido accommodates open air swimming pools with slides and water games. The project is the first of three operations covered by the Pools Plan, launched by Chambéry Métropole in 2005 with the aim of increasing the number of local sports and leisure-time facilities.
A pool that is part of the reorganization of the town system: the lot that is the subject of the project, located near the centre of Chambéry, is in a widely changing area. In fact, around the area where the new pool is going to be built, the whole Rubanox industrial area is going to be demolished and transformed, the stands of the rugby ground are going to be extended and the crematorium enlarged. The pool will be the first step in this transformation process as well as a reference point for the future developments, in view of the attraction and social significance it will take in the commune and town.
The image of the building comes from the integrated design of architecture, structure, systems, energy and environmental aspects. Wishing to obtain a functional, long-lasting architectural system, even trying to save costs, some fundamental assessments have been made: the choice of a laminated wood structure, strictly connected to the principles of prefabrication and sustainability, has been influenced by the availability of the wood locally; the modularity of the span can favour speed of production and assembly on site, during the construction stage; apart from being able of partially reflecting the surrounding environment and widening the perception of the outside space, the aluminium cover of the façades offers some benefits in terms of sustainability since aluminium is a locally produced material that allows reducing maintenance costs.
The external area project defines a sequence of open-air pools, water games, mineral beaches and plant solariums in the southern area of the lot, reaching the western, southern and eastern borders. The outdoor pools will be accessed in a controlled way, from the entrance to the pool, through an external route along the eastern side of the building.