Evening out inequalities with a swimming pavilion and meeting space at Järvabadet in Stockholm
The summer of 2020 saw the opening of Järvabadet in Stockholm—an outdoor swimming pavilion with a universally designed meeting space. The objective of the project was to even out inequalities by increasing the swimming proficiency of local residents and provide local people with an attractive meeting place.
Limited opportunities for recreational activities and swimming training
Järvafältet and Järvabadet are located just outside of the centre of Stockholm. Ever since the 1970s, it has been a desire among local residents to build an outdoor swimming pool here, and in the summer of 2020 the pool was finally completed. Among those behind the project is AIX Arkitekter, who state that there was a huge need for this type of facility in this area in particular:
- The average income level in the district is among the lowest in the whole of Stockholm, which means that children and young people in the Järvafältet area have few opportunities to take part in recreational activities or to travel away during school holidays and, for example, learn how to swim.
For many years, this area was the only neighbourhood in Stockholm that did not have access to either a beach or a swimming pool. When the decision was made to build Järvabadet, one of the goals was to increase the level of swimming proficiency in the Järva area. Swimming proficiency is also something that is necessary to achieve a certificate from lower and secondary school, to be able to continue with further studies.
Moreover, it was important to create an attractive meeting place for local residents. Now they have a social meeting arena where they can undergo swimming training, have a picnic with friends or just relax in pleasant surroundings. If visitors bring along lunch, there are several picnic tables accessible—also adapted for wheelchair users.
Democratic and attractive design
The pool is in an idyllic spot in Igelbäcken culture reserve, which is considered in the architecture and design of the landscape around the pools.
«Järvafältet is a culture reserve, and major emphasis has been placed on creating an architecture that in scale and design blends into the environment. At the same time, we wanted to create a building of a more public nature that clearly differs from surrounding buildings in terms of, among other things, materiality», says AIX Arkitekter.
Also collaborating on the project was LAND Arkitektur, who have been responsible for the design of the outdoor spaces. These are attractive, grassy areas where people can meet for swimming, picnics and grilling. Universal design has played an important role in the project, to make the area accessible to everyone. The buildings around the pools, housing among other things toilets and changing rooms, are universally designed and there are also gender-neutral changing facilities available.
Järvabadet has two 25-metre pools, where one is shallower and adapted to wheelchair users and those who wish to practice swimming. The filtration system in the pools is specially designed to allow swimming with clothing on. In addition, several of the furniture items are universally designed.
«Focus on a good overview for pool staff, equality and safety for swimming guests have been important elements during the design process», say AIX Arkitekter.
Design that blends into the surroundings
Universal design characterises the area, including the furniture. In several places we can find, for example, Vestre's bench table BERG. With its extended table top, it is easier to place both wheelchairs and children's prams and buggies close to the table. In one area, several tables are linked together to form a long table. BERG has a clean design that with the rest of the architecture blends naturally into the area.
«It was important to create a facility in which function and design jointly create a place that functions for visitors, staff, and operations. This also applies to the furniture, which is intended to signal robustness, whilst at the same time having attractive details», explains Anders Kling at LAND Arkitektur.
Also in the area, we find cycle racks and waste bins from Vestre—all in an attractive, soft beige colour.
«We were inspired by the range of colours in the landscape, in particular the pine trees. There are several large pine trees close to the pools. The brown colour in the cycle rack, bench table and light masts is inspired by pine bark. The green, slightly cool colour, which is mainly found on the long fence around the pool, is the colour of the pine needles», he adds.
Large cycle parking and upgraded roads
At the entrance to the pool, there is a large bicycle parking area, where we find long lines of the cycle rack VROOM. In addition, the roads near the outdoor pool have been upgraded in connection with the construction works, to encourage people to choose cycling as a form of transport. Promoting a greener way of transport to the pool was important.
«An important starting point in the project was to discourage the use of cars to travel here. We wanted visitors to walk or cycle, so there are a large number of cycle racks near the entrance», says Kling.
Popular from the first day
The new Järvabadet quickly became a popular meeting place and since its opening in June 2020 it has been fully booked. The first year was affected by Corona restrictions, and a limited number of people were permitted in the area at the same time. However, many enjoyed fine summer days here.
- «The queues were very long every morning around opening time. There were large numbers of visitors throughout the summer, and Stockholm city hopes to be able to open up for even more visitors in 2021», says Klas Eriksson, architect at AIX Arkitekter.
Year: Opened summer 2020
Location: Järvafältet, Stockholm, Sweden
Responsible for project: Stockholm city
Architect: AIX arkitekter
Landscape architect: LAND Arkitektur
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