A world-class swimming centre
Located in an area of Rome’s 13th Municipality on the site of an old abandoned sports facility that for years had been used as an open-air dump, the Babel sports centre is a sports and wellness village created for the 2009 world swimming championships.
The new facility extends over an area of 4 hectares in the heart of the Infernetto, a densely populated and constantly expanding district of Rome close to the presidential estate of Castel Porziano and the Cristoforo Colombo road, the major highway linking the city with Ostia.
Deriving from a project to completely rehabilitate the area, the new complex — designed to accommodate people with disabilities — stands out for the geometric shape of its various constituent buildings reminiscent of the mythical Tower of Babel, from which the centre takes its name.
Inside, amongst glass panels and mirrors, there are four swimming pools (33, 25, 21 and 18 metres in length), which in addition to swimming can also be used for aquagym, aquabike and spinning, a thermal area with sauna, whirlpool and Turkish baths, six fitness rooms and a 500 square metre weights and cardio fitness room.
Outside, set in green surroundings, there are two eight-a-side and two five-a-side football pitches with latest-generation synthetic turf as well as two beach volley and beach tennis courts.
The centre’s facilities also include a 700 square metre conference hall, a children’s play centre, a 400 square metre bar-restaurant, a 300 square metre beauty centre, a 25 metre saltwater summer pool and a parking area reserved for members.
The external covering of the centre’s main building, the floor covering in the reception area and the surfaces around the indoor pools consist of porcelain tiles from the Pietraviva series by Settecento — Mosaici e Ceramiche d’Arte.
The designers chose a technical, through-bodied porcelain tile of thickness 12 millimetres, rectified and produced with a double pressing procedure that achieves all the performance characteristics typical of natural stone.
The tiles, chosen in colours Pietra Piasentina Grigia (grey Piasentina stone) and Pietra Piasentina Verde (green Piasentina stone), have a non-slip surface ideal for use around swimming pools and in public spaces. They are also frost-resistant, a crucial factor for use in external areas.
A 60×60 cm size was chosen for the hall and 30×60 cm for the swimming pool area and external cladding.