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A highly expressive modern glass pavilion to reinvigorate a traditional embassy compound
In designing this new building within the Chinese Embassy compound to enclose an existing 25 x 10m inground swimming pool, Townsend + Associates Architects have provided a place of reflection and beauty; a building that allows its users to bathe in light as well as water.
“It’s all about the light and creating an energy efficient example of a building type that is notoriously energy hungry. To have an indoor swimming pool for Embassy families to bathe in light as they count out the laps or just splash about.” (Bruce Townsend, Architect)
The building’s apparent simplicity belies its technical complexity. Housed within a tightly constrained site, the new building is unmistakably a modern insertion into the traditionally themed architecture of the site. Yet, through subtle reflection of colour and forms, the building acknowledges the traditional expressions of its neighbours.
The entire building envelope is highly insulated, double glazed and fully thermally broken. The double skinned Uform glazing incorporates a LowE coating to further improve thermal performance. A new state-of-the-art ozone water treatment system requires very low chemical input for extremely high water quality and reduces the corrosive chlorine environment normally associated with indoor pools.
It is a glass pavilion that glows with light all year around flooded with sun in winter and deliciously shaded in summer. Despite its refined appearance the building is highly functional and decorative through its expressed steel structure and simple palette of materials: glass, steel and timber.
Location: RC Embassy in Yarralumla, Canberra, Australia
Area: 562 sqm.
Architects: Townsend + Associates Architects
Design Architect: Bruce Townsend
Project Team: Alessandro Rossi, Patrick Roberts and Sarah Patterson
Photographs: John Gollings