January 2002

Kwan O Swimming Pool Complex, Library, 
Indoor Recreation Centre and District Open Space

New directions in recreation

A New Town marks a new direction in public sports and leisure facilities at Tsueng Kwan O. Offered an unusually large site to work with, the complex's designers have formed a low-lying recreational oasis amid the area's rapidly changing landscape.

Unlike many existing developments that comprise a swimming complex and indoor recreation centre in a tight urban site, the generous Tseung Kwan O site allowed for a park-like approach and clearly defined functions laid-out alongside each other. Conceived as a focal point for the local public, the complex's elements each stand out clearly within the configuration: a swimming pool area offering both formal and leisure swimming facilities; an indoor recreation centre with a GFA of 4,200 sq m, a library with a 3,000 sq m GFA and soft landscaped District Open Space with sitting out areas.
        Each element is accessible from the civic open space at the main entrance and gathering point, highlighted by a clock tower and a soaring disc-like canopy. The pool complex entrance is placed directly to the front while the library is placed to the left and the IRC is located at the right.
        As a major element within the complex, the swimming pool deck area is partitioned from the other two elements by a linear spectator stand and the service building holding the changing rooms, restaurant and other related facilities. The pool area provides for both formal and informal use. An Olympic-sized pool is adjacent to the spectator stand and a diving pool, training pool and two teaching pools -- all rectilinear -- are placed nearby. The second half of the pool deck area yields a more informal organisation of space, with free-form leisure pools, fountain play facilities, curvy water slides and plant rooms concealed behind artificial rock.
        The adjacent indoor recreation centre follows a rectangular form, reflecting the functional requirements inside. A multi-purpose court is the centrepiece, able to house one handball court, two basketball courts, two volleyball courts or eight badminton courts at a time, all viewable from an 830-seat arena-style spectator stand. Additional facilities include three squash courts, a fitness training room and a dance and activity room.
        The library adopts its striking, introverted form for the users' benefit, explained the Architectural Services Department project architect. Unlike the rest of the complex, the library is not so much a recreational place as it is cultural space for quiet learning and reading. The circular building envelope creates an inward-looking form with window openings large enough to introduce natural light but not so big as to admit unwanted visual distractions from outside. Additional natural light is admitted to the two-storey building from a central skylit atrium. Facilities include adult and junior libraries, a students' study room, a newspaper and periodicals section, an audio-visual library, an extension activities room, a computer room and associated facilities.
        To unify the various elements across the site, the buildings are coated in a single colour scheme. A pinky brown with milky white highlights was applied in spray-on painted coatings to major surfaces.

site plan

        The District Open Space is planned to complement the park-like setting, already surrounded by a cycle track and green belt beside the nearby highways. The continuation of greenery into the gap between the complex and neighbouring school and residential developments ensures a pleasant surrounding to the entire site. The open space will also offer a shortcut to the MTR station to the north of the site, set to open in 2002.

Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Architectural Services Department
project architect
project manager
structural engineer
landscape architect

Simon Kwan & Associates
consultant architect

Ove Arup & Partners
consultant building services engineer

DG Jones & Partners (HK) Ltd
consultant quantity surveyor

Kim Hung Construction and Engineer Co Ltd
building contractor

-- Building Journal