ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — A new multi-use sports center designed by Koen van Velsen Architects employs a custom green-grey brick facade allowing the contemporary structure to peacefully and gently mesh into its surroundings.
The building was deliberately not designed as an icon but as a coming together of programme, architecture, interior, the external spaces and landscape. This makes the sports centre a ‘remarkable unremarkable’ building.
Above Image: Brick detail
Two sizes of brick are used in the structure’s exterior – one half the size of the other – creating a subtle and clean pattern.
Nestled between a residential zone and a green recreational area, Dezeen writes the brick pattern is broken up by sparse sections of blue, purple and yellow glossed brickwork as well as mirrored glass to reflect the various colors of the structure’s natural environment.
The green facade brickwork was specifically developed for this project, links the centre to the adjacent existing buildings and allows the sports centre to dissolve into the green surroundings.
The brick’s murky green hue is the result of a surface-treatment process called engobing. The process involves the dried greenware (though sometimes bisque-fired) bricks to be partly or completely sprayed with a clay solution with certain color-developing oxides, carbonates and stains. During the firing process, the coating is sintered into the tile, resulting in a unique matte embellishment.
The green patterned brickwork is also used throughout the interiors, which are arranged around four courtyards. The interior brickwork is complemented by fresh pops of colored brick, as seen in the exterior, and green-tinged concrete floors in the hallways and communal areas.
Dezeen writes wood-lined skylights offer ample natural light into the swimming pool area, which also features glossed tile. The adjacent changing rooms are finished in a similar aesthetic with long grey benches. The cafe includes a mirrored ceiling to reflect the vividly colored chairs and tables.
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Images courtesy Koen van Velsen Architects