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Roskilde Waterscape

Jaja Architects, Creo Arkitekter

Shared By

Morgan Day, Hanley Wood

Project Name

Roskilde Waterscape

Project Status

Concept Proposal

Year Completed



61,700 sq. feet


Roskilde Kommune


  • Landscape Architect: Thing&Brandt Landskab
  • Structural Engineer: Gronmij

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Project Description


The Roskilde Waterscape project expands and upgrades an existing indoor swimming bath to accommodate a new range of water activities. Architecturally it transforms the existing building complex and 1960s water tower into a cohesive spatial experience that offers a range of naturally lit bathing areas and amenities directly connected to the surrounding park.

The site, characterized by the existing swimming bath and a significant yet redundant 1960’s water tower, appears as a mashup of random architectural styles and building structures. The original swimming bath from 1959 got an extension in 2001 and refurbishment in 2011. Altogether, the buildings appear as a conglomeration of structures held together loosely by the surrounding beautiful park.

The ambition of the project is to create a new extension that embraces the diversity of users and programs, integrates the various existing structures, creates good daylight situations and reinterprets the potential of the surrounding landscape.

We propose a diverse roof element that ties the entire complex – new and existing – into a cohesive architectural composition. A horizontal window band will frame the landscape whilst creating a strong visual connection between the exterior and interior water space. A series of green courtyards will enhance the experience by bringing daylight and nature into the heart of the swimming bath.

Roskilde Waterscape consist of three main architectural principles, 1) visual connection, between interior and exterior, 2) spatial relation between building and landscape and 3) specific spatial diversity relating to function.

The visual relation ensures a good overview for the lifeguards and parents watching their children – while giving visitors a peak into all the activities that the swimming bath has to offer. The horizontal roof element also frames the landscape visually integrating the surrounding into a spatial experience with the swim hall, where diverse fauna becomes a backdrop of changing color and light with seasonal change. During autumn, hues of red, yellow and orange will color the interior spaces, whilst in winter, the leafless trees maximizes the amount of ambient light. In spring and summer the surrounding trees offer natural shading, using the trees’ dense canopy to diffuse excess light into the swimming bath.

A series of courtyards enhance the relation between building and nature whilst ensuring abundance of daylight throughout the entire complex. The strong relation between interior functions and courtyards create a seamless transition between internal and external spaces. Together they form a diverse spatial experience where visitors can move freely in and out of the building. Conceived as blue/green break spaces, the courtyards merge the water elements together with the landscape. Various vegetation such as grasses, fruit trees, flowers and bamboo combined with smaller pools and ponds offers visitors a relaxing experience. The three courtyards are programmed as a multi-functional space, wellness- and café garden.

Apart from the aesthetic and spatial qualities, the courtyards also organize the internal spaces to allow a minimum of two access points to each water zone, which creates a flow concept that allows a flexible segmentation of the swimming bath. In doing so, a swimming tournament in the 50m pool can run alongside a children’s party in another area without disturbing the tranquil atmosphere of the ‘wellness space’. It also allows for maintenance in isolated areas while the rest of swimming activities remains uninterrupted.

Whilst the courtyards organizes the plan layout, the roof element form vertical spatial differentiation. The roof element covers the entire complex – new and existing – but folds, extrudes and shifts up to create skylights and specific spatial qualities in relation to each program and swimming pool. The different heights, wooden ceilings and roof shapes together with the water and daylight creates unique identities and spatial atmospheres for each zone. Above the 50m swimming pool, a large extruded volume creates a vast space for large events that also appears calm for daily routines of athletes using the pool. Above the activity pools, a series of large circular skylights underlines the playful nature of the space while providing abundant daylight for the kids below. Above the hot water pool, a pyramid shaped roof with a translucent skylight creates a tranquil space, enhanced by the 180-degree view to the landscape. Above the café area, a monopitched roof diffuses northern light into the building and view to the monumental water tower.

The Roskilde Waterscape is the winning proposal of an invited competition. The project is expected to be complete in the beginning of 2018.
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