The second and final phase of the Kennedy Town Swimming Pool, designed by Farrells, opened on 7 February. It includes two new indoor heated pools, measuring 50 and 25 metres’ length respectively, as well as a jacuzzi. The swimming pool’s first phase, comprising a 50 metre outdoor pool and an outdoor leisure pool, opened to the public in May 2011.
The swimming pool’s completion is the capstone of the Kennedy Town MTR station project. The original site chosen for Kennedy Town Station was the Forbes Street Playground. But construction would affect a number of 120-year-old Banyan trees growing on historic stone walls. To protect the trees, the station box was shifted eastward, onto Smithfield and the site of the former Kennedy Town Swimming Pool.
A new pool had to be opened before the existing one could be demolished. The site chosen was a surface car park that boasted an uninterrupted sea view but had lain derelict since the land was reclaimed in the 1990s. To draw residents to this neglected corner of an otherwise vibrant neighbourhood, the site demanded a memorable icon.
Likened to a futuristic spaceship by the South China Morning Post, the new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool owes its distinctive shape to the streets and historical tram line that define the triangular site. Inspired by a shell, the building addresses the experience of arrival to Kennedy Town by tram or road from the east.
The low-lying form of the building respects the panoramic views that nearby residents enjoyed prior to the development and draws inspiration from its proximity to the harbour. During construction of the MTR West Island Line, the site adjacent to the first phase of the swimming pool was home to a shaft for the removal of underground spoil.
After the railway line opened in 2014, construction on the pool’s second phase began. The new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool has won awards and citations including Large Project of the Year 2016, awarded by the New Engineering Contract (NEC) of the UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers. Source and images Courtesy of Farrell