Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center
Arlington County, Virginia
Client : Arlington County
Area : 92,000 sf
Program : Aquatic Center (8-Lane 50m Competition Pool, 4-Lane 25m Leisure Pool with Therapy Area, Lap Pool, Toddler Pool, Water Slide, Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Fitness Center, Community Meeting Rooms, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Multi-Use Trails, Public Art)
Associated Architects : Page
Located north of the Crystal City neighbourhood of Arlington, Virginia, the Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Centre meets the County’s critical need for new amenities. MJMA’s inclusive, program-driven design harmonizes landscape and building to demonstrate the principle of sustainability as an everyday connection between community and environment.
The structure is sited in an area newly annexed to an existing 30-acre park running along a northeast–southwest axis on the north shore of the Potomac River. To the north and west, the site is bounded by interstate on-ramps, while to the southeast, a new extension to an elevated esplanade runs the length of the existing park, providing elevated views of its sports fields on one side and of the river on the other.
The east end of the 92,000-square-foot Center comprises an aquatics hall with a 50-metre competition pool with bleachers that seat 500 spectators, a lap pool, a leisure pool with a therapy area, a zero-depth-entry play and teaching pool, and a waterslide. Another 10,000 square feet are dedicated to a health and fitness space that includes weights, cardio, and a group fitness studio, as well as two community rooms, three multipurpose rooms, administration offices, and support spaces.
The Center nestles into the landscape and responds to its site. Its park-facing elevations are defined by two generously deep entrance porches: one faces parking on the west, while the other, to the southeast, opens up the Center to the extended portion of the esplanade, creating new opportunities for public activity. The structure’s origami-like roof accentuates the park’s topology, and the same motif is mirrored on the interior by the folds of the aquatics hall ceiling. Taking advantage of the sloping terrain, the basins of the aquatics hall are set low on the site so that visitors can look from the lobby level over the bleachers and down to the pool below.
The property — circumscribed by highways and train tracks, and situated right on the river —posed significant challenges for energy conservation, air and water quality, and building envelope integrity. Besides the landscaped addition to the esplanade, plans for the exterior comprise community gathering spaces, networked pathways, and integrated art, all developed according to significant environmental remediation that includes a stormwater management strategy. By approaching the project holistically, coordinating program and structure with passive and active systems and energy use, MJMA is on track to meet LEED Silver equivalence.