Mechelen (BE), 2012



The provincial sports and recreation centre Nekkerpool (serving the province of Antwerp in Belgium) offers a range of indoor and outdoor activities, and the addition of a swimming pool to the programme will make the package even more complete. The challenge for architects VenhoevenCS was to seize the opportunity to give the Nekker recreation centre as a whole a facelift, in addition to designing a modern and sustainable swimming pool. The site revolves around the new entrance area, where a pedestrian bridge makes the connection between the existing and new complex. It is light, spacious and transparent. Thanks to the panoramic patio, connecting canopy, spectacular pergola and carefully placed windows offering views of the surroundings, all parts of the complex offer views of the beautiful grounds of Nekkerpool; the landscape is fully integrated into the design and plays a vital role in the new complex.

In the new layout, all restauration functions have been merged into a coherent space on the south side, which serves as a huge visual draw towards the recreation area. From the cafeteria, parents can keep an eye on their playing children both in the renovated indoor playground and the pool. Extra patios and a large gallery augment the quality of the experience of this side of the complex.

Pool water that is buffered at night to prevent evaporation, cradle-to-cradle tile finishing on the building exteriors, a state-of-the-art energy roof and the achievement of a K-level of 17 are just a few examples of the steps taken to meet the client’s high ambitions in terms of sustainability both in materials choice and systems architecture. 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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Nekkerspoel-Borcht 19, Mechelen (B)
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.
7,000 m2 gfa
Competition design, Schematic design, Design development, Construction documents, Procurement, Construction administration
Province of Antwerp, Infrastructure Department


Ton Venhoeven, Manfred Wansink, Maarten Bax, Jos-Willem van Oorschot, Gabriel Boutsema, Wouter de Haas, Niels Boswinkel, Tim Habraken, Eelco Bergman, Roland Herpel.
THV Vanhout - ACH Bouw
Ney + Partners
Technum (acoustics)

VenhoevenCS ; Filip Dujardin (photos)