New world class swimming facility flowers in Budapest

T he 17th Swimming World Championships are took place in the second half of July in the Hungarian capital Budapest; well-known for its thermal baths and bathing culture. The Duna Aréna (Danube Arena), the main competition site, is impressive because of its location, striking architecture and state-of-the art pools, which were created using ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal.      

In the interior of the building, there is a 50 by 25 by 3 metre competition pool, a 50 by 25 metre warm-up pool with two depths – 2.2 and 2.8 metre) due to its movable floor, a 50 by 25 by 5 metre diving pool, and a 12.5 by 8 by 0.8 metre learners’ pool.

In the outdoor area of the Duna Aréna, there is a 50 by 25 by 2.25 metre pool with a roof for weather protection and a 25 by 21 by 2.2 metre pool for short course competitions and training.

In addition to the pools themselves, around 2,000 sq. metres of Agrob Buchtal’ ChromaPlural range were used for the walls of changing rooms/corridors.  Around 6,000 sq. metres of Agrob Buchtal’s Quantum range, with grid profile, were used for the pool surrounds.

The Császár-Komjádi swimming centre directly opposite Duna Aréna on the other bank of the Danube also features ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal.  There, the athletes can train in first-class conditions.

It was originally planned that Budapest would be the venue for the swimming world cup in 2021.  However, when the Mexican city of Guadalajara withdrew as the 2017 host city in February 2015, plans for Budapest were revised and brought forward.

Construction started in May 2015 and, by spring of 2017, the most essential facilities of the Duna Aréna were complete.  This was followed by the pools in the outdoor area, meaning that the whole facility was completed in time.

From the outside, the Duna Aréna appear both self-confident and, at the same time, filigree.  This is due to the elegant, wavelike forms of the arena’s façades.

For the edges of all the pools, the designers specified Agrob Buchtal’s System Finland.  The sloping, beach-like pool edge inhibits water backflow and thus prevents the swimmers in the outer lanes from being at a disadvantage.  

The constant water depth of the competition pool of 3 metres, rather than the usual 2.20 metres, should create ideal conditions for the athletes.  All other aspects of the pools also meet the requirements of FINA.

The ChromaPlural tiles used in the pools, feature the unpretentious and classic colours of white and blue in order to avoid unnecessary distraction. The same applies to the pool surrounds where the alabaster-white of the Quantum range tiles is fresh and neutral. In addition, the grid profile not only is slip-resistant but also easy to clean.

Dr. Marcel Ferencz and György Détári, both from napur architect kft, Budapest, were responsible for the architecture of the new sports facility. The building is located just 4 km from the city centre on the eastern bank of the Danube.  The Duna Aréna has a  6,000 spectators seating capacity, while temporary installations at the swimming world cup offered an additional 6,000 to 7,000 seats.

After the world cup, one section will be accessible to the public, while the other part will be used for competitive sports and for training use by young swimming talent.

A final benefit of using Agrob Buchtal tiles is that they boast an HT (Hydrophilic Tiles) coating.  This innovative solution is durably baked onto the glaze in the factory and is so robust that even floor tiles can be provided with it. The effect is activated by natural or artificial light. Tiles with HT are particularly easy to clean, have an antibacterial effect without using chemical products and eliminate unwelcome odours such as chlorine or air pollutants, thus ensuring a healthy indoor climate.
Picture source (all motifs): AGROB BUCHTAL GmbH / Péter Molnàr