Multiplex Aquatique Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, Saint Hilaire de Riez (F) - Saint Hilaire de Riez (Francia)

Waves upon waves

The Multiplex Aquatique Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, built in a Natura 2000 area, fits in perfectly with the surrounding landscape of salt marshes, ocean and river
Roberta Chionne
Jean-François Tremege
Paul-Louis Imbaud - Agence Brochet Lajus Pueyo
Ceramic surfaces
Year of completion

Built in 2017 to a project by the architectural firm BLP & associés, the Multiplex Aquatique Saint Gilles Croix de Vie aquatic centre in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez stands on the banks of the river Vie, a water and salt marsh landscape in the Vendée department of the Pays de la Loire region bordering with the Atlantic Ocean. The location has been recognised as a Natura 2000 site, the network set up by the European Union to protect and conserve plant and animal species and their habitats in keeping with a vision of sustainable development.
The complex is organised as a sequence of large, full-height spaces enclosed by roofs that appear to float like three large waves on top of the transparent façades. Designed to fit respectfully into the environment in terms of both its aesthetics and functionality, it has four swimming areas laid out in such a way as to ensure the best possible use of sunlight throughout the day: a sports pool, a fun and learning pool, a children’s pool and a pool for other water sports activities, which can be opened up as required. The centre also features a solarium, a wellness area, saunas, a hammam, a cold water pool, a large whirlpool tub and a large outdoor pool.
The need to meet aesthetic, environmental and functional parameters led to a fruitful collaboration between the architects and contractors, as is evident in the construction of the complex metallic perimeter lattice structure that envelops the pool area and supports the roof as an integral structural unit. Winner of first prize as Europe’s most beautiful municipal swimming pool in the Pool Design Awards 2018, the centre appears to merge into its surroundings. It not only offers splendid views of the landscape but also captures reflections from the water and natural light filtered by the lattice structure of the façade, while the curving roofs improve the interior acoustics. The combination of aesthetics and technology also determined the choice of materials necessary to guarantee optimum conditions of hygiene. For this purpose, the bottoms, edges and walls of all the indoor pools are clad with tiles from Casalgrande Padana’s Landscape collection, chosen in the colours Tundra ice and Ocean blue and in the non-slip finishes Grip, Friction and Rigata. They consist of certified bioactive and eco-compatible porcelain stoneware slabs that help improve the quality of the microenvironment thanks to Bios Antibacterial® technology. This is a treatment integrated into the ceramic material that is capable of removing up to 99.9% of the four most common strains of bacteria present in confined spaces (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aerugosa and Enterococcus faecalis), forming a wear-resistant protective barrier that remains active day and night, with or without sunlight.

Ceramic surfaces
Casalgrande Padana, Landscape
porcelain stoneware
Ocean, Tundra
30x30 cm

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