Leça Swimming Pools, Alvaro Siza Portugal Building, Architect, Photo, Design, Image

Leça Swimming Pools Portugal

Contemporary Portuguese Architecture Project design by Alvaro Siza Vieira architect

July 16, 2020
Leça Swimming Pools listed for Keeping it Modern Grants 2020

This contemporary Portuguese building is among 13 significant 20th-century buildings that will receive $2.2m in Keeping It Modern grants, from the Getty Foundation.

Keeping it Modern Grants 2020

22 Jun 2010

Leça Swimming Pools

Location: Avenida da Liberdade, Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, southwestern Europe

Date built: 1996

Design: Alvaro Siza Vieira

Leça Swimming Pools, Portugal Alvaro Siza
photo from Alvaro Siza Vieira

The project is situated along the coastal avenue, the mass of the building set below the road level to allow an uninterrupted view to the sea. The program includes two swimming pools, changing facilities and a cafe.

Because of the need to limit construction costs and to preserve the landscape, the project had to make a minimal intrusion into the existing terrain. Since a topographical survey was not available at the time, the architect spent days marking the location of the existing rock formations, to arrive at a design which would require the least blasting.

The large adults’ pool is bound by low concrete walls that extend into the sea and are complemented on three sides by the natural rock formations. The continuity of these walls with the existing topography and the level of the water in the pool which appears to be contiguous with the sea, create the illusion of a seamless transition between the man-made and natural. The children’s pool, further inland, is enclosed by a curvilinear wall on one side and sheltered from the rest of the site by massive rocks and a concrete bridge at its entrance. In a playful gesture, this bridge is set just low enough to discourage adults from passing under it.

The access to the swimming pools is by way of a pedestrian ramp, which leads down from the coastal highway. The visitor descends gradually, simultaneously losing sight of the horizon, into a maze of concrete walls, platforms and canopies of the shower stalls and changing facilities building. After passing through its long corridors, partially screened by the cabinet partitions, a path along a high wall leads back into the Atlantic light, but the water still remains hidden from view.

A subtle play on the senses, this element seems to slice the landscape in two, leaving only sky visible above and the sea audible beyond. The composition of these elements as building proper is understood only from the perspective of the swimming pools, since from the road they appear as an abstract figure, a series of carvings into the landscape.

Many of the materials of the swimming complex had already been used by Siza at Boa Nova and in other early projects, but here they achieve an unusual level of homogeneity: the rough concrete, of a slightly cooler hue than the rock formations, smooth and washable concrete panels for the pavement, Riga wood carpentry, and green copper roofs, which seen from the coastal avenue attain a color similar to the pools.

Leça Swimming Pools image / information from Alvaro Siza Vieira 020909

Alvaro Siza architect

Location: Avenida da Liberdade, Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, southwest Europe

Porto Building Designs

Porto Architecture Tours by e-architect – guided city walks for pre-booked tour groups only

Porto Architectural Designs – recent selection:

Paradinha Cabins, Porto, northern Portugal
Architects: SUMMARY
Paradinha Cabins Arouca Portugal
photo © Fernando Guerra_FG+SG
Paradinha Cabins, Arouca

MG Coudelaria, Minho Region, Northern Portugal
Architecture: Visioarq
MG Coudelaria Minho North Portuguese Architecture News
photo : Maria João Gala
MG Coudelaria, Minho, North Portugal

New Portuguese Architecture

Contemporary Portuguese Architecture

Portuguese Architecture Designs – chronological list

Lisbon Architecture Tours by e-architect

Portuguese Architecture

Porto Architecture Walking Tours

Another Portuguese building by Alvaro Siza:

Church of Marco de Canaveses

Portuguese Architect

Swimming Pool Buildings

Art Gallery Buildings

Comments / photos for the Leça Swimming Pools – Porto Architecture page welcome