Duna Arena, Budapest: when German tiles meet the water sports cathedral

The Budapest Duna Aréna (Engl. “Danube Arena“) as main competition site is impressive because of its special position, striking architecture and pools in a class of their own. Ceramic tiles “Made in Germany” of the brand AGROB BUCHTAL play a central part in this connection. Pools are, in a manner of speaking, the “sports equipment” of the best swimmers of the world. For these in and at the new Duna Aréna, one chose quality ceramics of the brand Agrob Buchtal.

In the interior of the building, there are

  • a competition pool of 50 x 25 x 3 m,
  • a warm-up pool of 50 x 25 x 2.20 / 2.80 m (two depths because of movable floor),
  • a diving pool of 25 x 22 x 5 m and
  • a learners’ pool of 12.5 x 8 x 0.8 m.

In the outdoor area of the Duna Aréna, there are

  • a pool of 50 x 25 x 2.25 m with roofing as weather protection and
  • a pool of 25 x 21 x 2.20 m for short course competitions and training.

In addition, Agrob Buchtal tiles were used in the following areas:

  • approx. 2,000 m² of series ChromaPlural for the walls of changing rooms / corridors
  • approx. 6,000 m² of the series Quantum with grid profile for the pool surrounds.

Furthermore, the swimming centre “Császár-Komjádi” directly opposite of the Duna Aréna on the other bank of the Danube is also provided with ceramic tiles of Agrob Buchtal. There, the athletes can also practise under first-class conditions. 

Architectural quality and high functionality

Already when looking at the building from outside, it conveys its function in a self-confident and at the same time filigree manner thanks to the elegant, wavelike forms of the long sides. For the edges of all the pools, one chose the modern System Finland of Agrob Buchtal: the sloping, beach-like pool edge inhibits water backflow and thus prevents a disadvantage for the swimmers in the outer lanes. In conjunction with the constant water depth of the competition pool of 3 m instead of the usual 2.20 m, ideal conditions for the athletes are created in this way.

The other aspects of the ceramic pools also meet the requirements of the FINA, which is the precondition for the validity of official records. For the tiles of the series ChromaPlural in the pools, one intentionally chose the unpretentious, classic colours white and blue in order to avoid an unnecessary distraction of the swimmers, but to provide a professional stage for top-class sport. The same applies to the pool surrounds: the colour “alabaster-white“ of the series Quantum is fresh and neutral, but at the same time conveys visual warmth and prevents disturbing reflections thanks to the velvety surface. In addition, the operators of the Duna Aréna point out that the grid profile not only is slip-resistant but also particularly easy to clean.

Exposed position and well-planned utilization

Dr. Marcel Ferencz and György Détári (both from the office napur architect kft, Budapest) were responsible for the architecture of the new sports facility. The building is centrally located, i.e. approx. 4 km away from the city core on the eastern bank of the Danube, near the well-known “Margaret Island” (location of the water polo games of the WC in the “Alfred Hajos National Aquatics Complex“ situated there). The Duna Aréna has seats for approx. 6,000 spectators, temporary installations especially for the swimming WC offer additional 6,000 to 7,000 seats in the “championship mode“. After the WC, the planning provides that one section will be accessible for the public, and the other part of the facilities will still be professionally utilized for competitive sports and for the development of young talents in order to maintain the high level of the Hungarian swimming sport also in future. 

Proven additional benefit

Agrob Buchtal tiles offer useful special advantages day after day thanks to the HT (Hydrophilic Tiles) coating. This innovative solution is durably baked onto the glaze already at the factory and is so robust that even floor tiles can be provided with it. The effect is activated by natural or artificial light. Tiles with HT are particularly easy to clean, have an antibacterial effect without using chemical products and eliminate unwelcome odours such as chlorine or air pollutants, thus ensuring a healthy indoor climate.