Mechelen (BE), 2012



Provincial sports and recreation center De Nekker offers a combination of indoor and outdoor activities, recently expanded with a beautiful swimming pool designed by VenhoevenCS. The challenge was to extend the recreational season with an open and transparent swimming pool and to give a new look to the entrance of the recreation area with this extension.

The new entrance is located in the heart of the domain, between existing sports halls and the new swimming pool. Communal catering establishments connect the existing and new complex on the floor. Below is an inviting gateway to the recreation area.

The appearance of the new swimming pool is light, spacious and transparent. From the entire complex there is a view and transparency to the beautiful domain of De Nekker. The landscape is fully integrated into the design. By means of a large patio, a connecting canopy, a spectacular pergola and carefully chosen windows to the surroundings, the landscape is palpable throughout the building.

In the spatial layout on the south side, all catering functions have been brought together in one clear volume, which serves as a huge visual draw towards the recreation area. From the cafeteria, parents can keep a close eye on their children, both in the swimming pool and in the renovated indoor playground. Extra patios and a large gallery augment the quality of the experience of this side of the complex.

The high ambitions of the client in the field of sustainability have been realized, both in materialization and in the field of installations. The facades are made with cradle-to-cradle tiles from Mosa and the roof is made with a wood construction. Swimming water from the toddler pools is buffered at night and movable bottoms are then used to cover the pools to prevent evaporation. A high-quality energy roof and heat recovery contribute to the realization of a K-level of 17. In addition, a budget was set aside for an energy use monitor for the building to be conducted in two years’ time, to make the feasible and appropriate adjustments needed to render the building energy-neutral.

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Name: Nekkerpool
Location: Nekkerspoel-Borcht 19, Mechelen (B)
Program: New construction of swimming pool complex to be added to existing sports complex with competition pool, instruction pool, special needs pool, gallery, dining facilities, playground and free-standing entrance pavilion. Complete renovation of existing dining (including some new construction) and kitchen areas. New construction of outdoor space including recreational water elements.
Surface area: 7,000 m2 gfa
Assignment: Competition design, Schematic design, Design development, Construction documents, Procurement, Construction administration
Period: 2009-2012
Status: Built
Client: Province of Antwerp, Infrastructure Department
Awards: Nomination ARC Awards: Architecture 2013


VenhoevenCS: Ton Venhoeven, Manfred Wansink, Maarten Bax, Jos-Willem van Oorschot, Gabriel Boutsema, Wouter de Haas, Niels Boswinkel, Tim Habraken, Eelco Bergman, Roland Herpel.
Partner architect:B2Ai
Main contractor:THV Vanhout - ACH Bouw
Structural engineer:Ney + Partners
Building physics:Ingenium
Other:Technum (acoustics)
Images: VenhoevenCS ; Filip Dujardin (photos)