Our concept with the Debrecen Spa is not merely to compete with other aquatic institutions but to create something new and unique. We aim to integrate this plan into a long term, large scale investment strategy that involves the rehabilitation of the surrounding city park and forest area.
Nagyerdo is the city park of Debrecen, which has always been the foremost location for sport, relaxation and pastime activities so the renewal of the water park was a basic need of the local population. In the summer of 2015 Debrecen Spa Ltd. invited entries for an architectural competition to design and innovate the water park belonging to Aquaticum Spa and Wellness Centre. The intention of the city of Debrecen was to create a high quality, loveable, family centred and touristically attractive unique water park. The design of BORD Architectural Studio won first prize at the competition.
This was a rather exciting project, an experiment for us really that resulted in the creation of an unconventional, three dimensional water experience in the centre of which there is a cuboid shape visual module made entirely of water that reflects the green colours of the surrounding.
The water park is situated on the same premises as its predecessor and connects to the already existing spa facilities. Considering the protected forest environment the planned site scheme follows the original layout. The trees and the volumes of the nearby forest envelope the clearing that provides the location of the water park. Our concept was to place the different theme elements into this environment as if they were pieces of a mosaic. In the middle we visualised a statue like design that elevates the water and the greenery into a different dimension emphasising the outstanding natural surroundings.
Debrecen is located on the great plains, the eastern part of the country, very near the warm and dry Hortobagy where water is indeed scarce. In the centre of Debrecen lies the so called Nagyerdo (Great Forest) that is protected by Natura 2000 and at the core of this hides the water park that uses spa water so rich in minerals that it provides remedy for several diseases. Of course these geographical circumstances, the presence of spa water and the protected forest environment all inspired our work. We build each project around a story. This story inspires the architectural concept, leads the project like a guiding thread and gives individuality to each of our buildings. In this particular case we imagined a tiny puddle in the middle of the desert. Then we visualised as magic hands are folding a spatial volume, a cube out of this mass of water. This newly created world, this little oasis then gradually began to fill up with life - all sorts of plants and animals dwelled in it and finally the forest appeared too treasuring the water park as the symbol of life in its centre.
The water park will be accessible from a new pedestrian path. Parallel to this there is a long and narrow one-storey building containing the main entrance, changing rooms, restrooms and the food court. The restaurants will be open all year round with a wide selection of international cuisine serving the visitors of the water park and the hikers of the forest too. On the long, flat volumes of the building a green, wave-like roof slopes up from the direction of the spa. The central visual attraction of the spa is an east-west fore axis, 196m x 26m floor area, 12m high cuboid. This module is open and permeable on all sides and encompasses several functions such as: the thermal bath, the relaxing areas, the swimming pools, the slides, the sun bathing area and the bars. Between the functions 12m tall waterfalls and green walls meander. From the sunbathing terrace we can admire the Nagyerdo from a completely new perspective.
When planning the kids’ area we considered a place that invites for adventure so we decided to design an exciting concept based on the cartoon “Treasure Planet”. We dreamt up a genuine pirate place with a zeppelin, cannons and slides. Apart from the kids' pools, children will also be able to enjoy a spray park and a wave pool too. The presence of spa water calls for a spa pool with natural thermal water but there’s going to be a slow river and children’s theatre as well. The water park will await its visitors with a 5700m2 water surface.