Following a number of stages and different emplacements of the historic Club Natació Catalunya (CNC), at the beginning of the 70’s the Barcelona City Council finally assigned the municipal sports facilities of Can Toda to the CNC. In 2006, the CNC contracted AIA to carry out the overall renovation and extension work aimed at converting the Can Toda Centre into a reference in terms of sporting facilities for the city as a whole.
The initial plan for the project was structured in two phases, so that execution would be possible from a constructive point of view and also in order to guarantee an acceptable level of usage of the rest of the installations while the work was being done. However finally, and after verifying the difficulties involved, in terms of both construction and site management, given the sheer scale that the project represented, it was decided that the work would be done in a single phase.
The project design incorporated the latest technologies applicable for this kind of facility, both with regard to the treatment of the water in the swimming pools and in the thermal and the hygrothermal control of the air throughout the facilities, with the installation of a computerised control system that automatically optimises the functioning of the different systems at all times. These installations and the control thereof contributes to a minimisation of energy consumptions, adapting needs and production levels and ensuring a better utilization of natural climate control resources, along with the highly sustainable performance of the facilities as a whole.
The first stage consisted of a complete renovation of the interior of the swimming pool. This was done by replacing both of the existing pool basins with two new, state-of-the art, stainless steel and polyester, overflow type basins. This intervention required the simultaneous demolition of the old poolside areas and the construction of new pool surrounds around the new basins, along with the building of a large underground basement area to house the equipment and installations, completely replacing the existing facilities, which were insufficient for the new requirements.
The façade of the main body of the swimming pools employs solar control windows at the bottom along with a double-skin of orange cellular polycarbonate panels that allow for the incorporation of an adequate transmission factor and, at the same time, avoid excessive heating of the interior, minimizing the energy consumption required to ensure ideal humidity and temperature conditions in the pool area as a whole. The roof design consists of a structure of large 30-metre laminated wooden beam, supporting a light sandwich type roof that, due to its composition, guarantees the required level of thermal insulation. The large scale work of building the new inside swimming pools also includes the major transformation of the part of the building currently occupied by the changing rooms, gymnasium and access to the stands, etc.
One of the main innovations at the new centre has been the creation of an important services area called the 'Wellness Centre', which includes novel concepts in the field of health and wellbeing. Activities have been organised around these concepts that are becoming increasingly more popular with the public.
The main challenge of this project was how to convert the results of a range of different extension phases, introduced over the years, into a “single” building. This has been achieved by means of volumetric and spatial reorganisation and a re-standardisation aimed at ensuring that both final image and functioning can be understood as both a balancing and a finite element.