Edmonton’s pure swimming pool acknowledged for innovation
The Borden Park swimming pool was awarded a prestigious architecture prize, which recognizes its integration of chemical-free technology into a beautifully designed public leisure facility.
Located northeast of downtown Edmonton, the annual facility is Canada’s first chemical-free public outdoor pool. The design process included developing a pool technology that purifies water through stone, gravel, sand and botanical filtering processes.
The pool won the Innovation in Architecture Award, one of eight awards announced Tuesday by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The innovation award takes into account factors such as research and development, new and adapted technologies, construction methods and fresh approaches to details and materials.
Showers and the entrances to the changing areas at Borden Park Pool. (gh3 *)
“The Borden Park pool embodies the idea of innovation in an effortless and subtle architectural result,” said the jury of three jurors in a statement.
“The strength of the simple but powerful architecture is beautifully integrated into the biological systems that provide a healthy user experience, both physically and mentally.”
The new pool, designed by the architecture firm gh3 *, replaces an existing pool and includes a seasonal pavilion and a green pool area for 400 swimmers. The listing description stated that the challenge was to create a large pool with natural filtering that would meet health standards.
“Canada’s guidelines for public swimming pools are among the strictest in the world,” which required a science-based approach to the challenge, the project description says.
“By classifying the project as a ‘recreational body of water’, the building permit was granted as a ‘built-up beach with deviations’ and the deviation was the pools.”
Another view of the hydrobotanical pond at Borden Park Pool. (gh3 *)
The design should evoke the geology of the North Saskatchewan River, the description says, along with the flat topography of the prairie to “surround the narrative of bathing in the landscape”.
The new pool proved a hit with swimmers when it opened last summer, with long lines common. In the first week of operation, the swimming pool closed early on four days due to its daily bathing restrictions.
The RAIC Awards are presented every two years.