21st Century facilities in Finland’s oldest city
Photos: © Aki Aro
Outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool restored to former glory with Kebony cladding
Centrally located in Turku, Finland’s oldest city, the Samppalinna outdoor pool and its associated facilities recently underwent a complete facelift. Architect Mikko Lemmetti, Head Designer at LEMMETTI, chose Kebony for the pool house cladding and outdoor tiered seating as well as the siding in the bathroom. The Olympic-sized pool was one of eight outdoor swimming pools built in Finland during the 1950s, a period of economic boom and a notorious decade for Finland following the 1952 Summer Olympics. The primary objective for this renovation was to ensure the legacy of this historical building was protected and restored, with modern architecture adapting the facilities for the 21st Century.
The pool, which is open to the public throughout the summer, was extended and a ramp was installed to cater for disabled access and swimmers of varying abilities. Additionally, the lifesaver supervision cabin was extended and the swimming pool was equipped with flush pools and outdoor showers to facilitate a higher number of customers. Aesthetically, the surface material of the swimming pool was restored to its original painted appearance and the edges of the pool have been expertly covered with mosaic concrete. The old maintenance building was demolished and replaced with a Kebony clad structure which houses both the pool technology systems and an on-site café, changing facilities and showers.
Sustainability was a key component for this renovation and a major reason Kebony was selected for the pool house and the outdoor seating. Developed in Norway, the patented Kebony technology uses an environmentally friendly process, which permanently enhances the properties of sustainable softwood with a bio-based liquid derived from agricultural crop waste. By polymerising the wood’s cell walls, the wood gains greatly improved durability and dimensional stability, giving it characteristics similar to those of tropical hardwood. The Kebony wood requires no maintenance beyond normal cleaning and can stand up to testing conditions far better than traditional wood. It is resistant to rot and fungi despite exposure to high levels of moisture in its outdoor setting adjacent to a swimming pool.
Over time, the wood cladding will adopt a silver-grey patina due to sun and rain, enabling the pool house and seating to complement the restrained colour pallet of the historic Samppalinna pool. Out of season, wooden shutters protect the windows of the Kebony-clad pool house, working to create natural and transparent spaces when shut throughout the remainder of the year.
Mikko Lemmetti, Head Designer at LEMMETTI commented: “From my experience, design is characterised by the creation of durable solutions that will be cost-effective throughout their lifecycle. As a result, Kebony was the perfect choice of material, as it is durable, low maintenance, environmentally friendly and cost effective in the long run. I plan to make use of Kebony in the future and will recommend this sustainable material to my fellow architects.”
Petteri Huomo of Novenberg, Kebony’s partner in Finland, added: “We are thrilled to see the final outcome of the Samppalinna swimming pool project. This renovation highlights both the aesthetic and performance qualities of Kebony and demonstrates how modern techniques and materials can be used to restore historic and original features. We look forward to seeing how Mikko Lemmetti incorporates Kebony into his future project pipeline.”
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