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Forssa Swimming Baths
Forssa, Finland, 1993

Forssa Swimming Baths

Client: City of Forssa
Location: Forssa, Finland
Year of completion: 1993
Gross area: 6 200 m²
Volume: 25 000 m³

Forssa is a little town in the south west of Finland, which was founded as a centre for cotton spinning by James Finlayson, a british industrialist, in the middle of last century. Like everywhere else in Finland, Forssa has suffered of late from the detrimental effects of the economic setback of the implosion of the former USSR. But in 1988 its 20,000 inhabitants felt sufficiently prosperous to set up a company to build a swimming pool.

“Pekka Helin was asked to build the complex in 1988”, Peter Davey writes in the Architectural Review no. 1170. “He was faced by a rather nondescript, roughly square site in the suburbs of low slabs and old neighbourhood of villas and a new development of los slabs flats to the south-east. In the suburban setting, he decided to make an object building as a celebration of the civic effort, surrounded by lawns and tree-lined car parks.”

“All the aquatic parts of the building are in one big space”, Davey goes on to point out. “A huge double-height volume that colud contain alla the different pools (and the height of the high-diving board). –– Helin has designed the swimming hall with a square plan, which itself is divided into four lesser squares, the south westerly one of which is rotated by 20 degrees to the main mass. –– The rotation allows large areas glass to be created in the roof between the concrete waffled slabs of the terrace, where a mobile bar can serve people who want to sit in the sunshine looking down into the great pool hall.”