Svetice complex, Zagreb: systematic diversity and modern design

A current and outstanding witness of the growth of sports infrastructure in Croatia, is the leisure and swimming complex Svetice in direct proximity to the Maksimir Park in the eastern part of the centre of the capital Zagreb. There, an architectural statement coexists with a great diversity of utilization, filigree look and design consistency.

The building was planned by the Croatian/Swiss architects duo Vjera Bakić and Matthias Kulstrunk, which had won the pertinent competition already in 2005. After the start of construction in 2009 and an interruption from 2011 to 2013, the project was completed in the year 2016. As public swimming pool, but also as training facility for swimming and water polo, the bath made great demands on the planning. The concept convinced the jury by the combination of functionality and aesthetics, which ideally permitted the intended multiple use.

Intelligent planning and careful material selection

Corresponding to the gigantic space volume, the basic construction of the building consists of a concrete base in storey height, which is spanned by an elegant steel construction. Colours, formats and forms play an important part at the relativization and proportioning of the huge dimensions.

For the implementation of these elementary stylistic devices of architecture, one chose ceramic tiles of AGROB BUCHTAL for all wet areas. With the system ChromaPlural, this internationally well-known brand for swimming pool ceramics offers components for ceramic wall and floor coverings which can be modularly combined and thus support conclusive overall concepts. The resulting possibilities were creatively used and interpreted in the case of the project at Zagreb. For the division of the individual functional areas, diverse shades of the above-mentioned system ChromaPlural were used.

Stringent use of form as universal link

As regards the format, on the other hand, one chose narrow strip tiles as universally used element. The result of this design consistency is that the ceramic coverings act as omnipresent stylistic link in the entire building - and that in such an expressive but at the same time discreet and subtle manner that they are not too dominant.

Great care down to the last detail at the design becomes apparent in the skilful use of ceramic special pieces such as skirtings or profiled edgings: rounded corners and edges not only offer maximum safety and easiness of cleaning, but have an aesthetic effect and lend components such as seats almost sculptural qualities. Further examples for the exactness of planning are heated benches, foot warming basins in the sauna or soap dishes in the showers, which offer the visitors comfort and convenience every day.

The innovative HT (stands for “Hydrophilic Tiles“) coating of the ceramic tiles of AGROB BUCHTAL also offers useful advantages every day.

Logical and logistically optimal concept

With regard to the optimization of operational processes, the architects’ primary objective was to create a building with an “inner logic“ and to express this by appropriate spatial relationships. Thus, the place in front of the entrance, the entrance hall and the swimming pool are only separated by glass panes; from the bistro, one has an overview not only of the swimming pool and the place in front of the entrance but also of all outdoor areas. If necessary, it is also possible to enter the grandstand via the publicly accessible promenade on the roof of the wellness area. 

The whole thing is more than the total of the parts

Qualified interior design and room layout result in an architectural ensemble which - in spite of its impressive size - is integrated in the urban environment so transparently and harmoniously that the swimming bath becomes an integral part of the city life. The visitors find their way intuitively, always have an overview and thus can enjoy the diverse possibilities offered without any problems.