Task
A public swimming hall as part of a larger-scale development effort for the Ähtäri Resort area

Year
2019-present

Scope
1560 m2

Client
City of Ähtäri

Design
Studio Puisto Architects: Mikko Jakonen, Emma Johansson, Sampsa Palva, Heikki Riitahuhta, Willem van Bolderen, Sami Logren, Ayda Grišiūtė, Monica Romagnoli, Guillaume Keidel, Maiju Koskela (Interior)

Competence
Concept design, area planning, building design, interior design

The overarching concept for the Ähtäri swimming pool project is to create a spa-like swimming hall that will not only serve tourists staying at the Ähtäri Resort, but also residents in a distinct, experiential way. Due to its central location in between Ähtäri Zoo and Hotel Mesikämmen, the Ähtäri swimming pool completes the area, ultimately acting as the unifying link between the different services. As such, the Ähtäri swimming pool is an integral part of the overall Ähtäri Resort master plan designed by Studio Puisto and one of the currently on-going development efforts.

With the user experience at the forefront, the plan for the swimming pool is designed to be both natural and straightforward, from the changing rooms to the washrooms to the pool areas. Similarly, the pool area itself is divided into two, with the pool meant for children and therapy purposes separated from the main pool. Yet, despite their division, a shared jacuzzi space in the middle unites the two spaces to make a cohesive atmosphere between them. The overall scale of all these spaces is pleasantly intimate, as sloping ceilings provide spatial variation through lower exterior walls and loftier elevations in the middle.

To further the unforgettable spa experience, there is also a shared sauna with a cool-down terrace lounge. From both that terrace lounge and the landscape windows along the interior are endless panoramic views of the adjacent Hankavesi, enhancing the connection between inside and out.

Above all, two central spaces stand out both inside and outside the building: the multi-purpose cabinet space in the lobby and the atmospheric jacuzzi room separate from the other pool areas. In both, natural light floods beautifully into these spaces through skylights. This public cabinet space is inherently multi-functional with the flexibility to be used for different purposes. Then, when not in use, it functions as part of the entrance hall where there is also a separate laundry and dressing room meant for families.

The overall interior concept is geared towards fostering a calming atmosphere through the use of wood, stone and concrete surfaces. It is a swimming hall that is ultimately spa-like and luxurious, while at the same time serving the public in sharing a memorable bathing experience with all.

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