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17th Swimming World Championships (14th - 30th July 2017)
Duna Aréna, Budapest: New water sports cathedral for the best of the world

Major sporting events such as Olympic Games or world championships are fascinating people all around the globe. This also applies to the 17th Swimming World Championships (WC), which are organized by the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation, CH-Lausanne) and take place in the second half of July 2017 in the Hungarian capital Budapest. This location is predestined in so far as Hungary is well-known and famous for first-class thermal baths and a high bathing culture. The close relation to the basic element of water is also reflected in the fact that this country frequently comes up with top performances in swimming, and even the first Olympic champion of the modern age, Alfréd Hajós, was a Hungarian. Accordingly great is the significance of this year’s swimming WC. The Duna Aréna (Engl. “Danube Arena“) as main competition site is impressive because of its special position, striking architecture and pools in a class of their own. Ceramic tiles “Made in Germany” of the brand AGROB BUCHTAL play a central part in this connection.

The mentioned Alfréd Hajós was an all-rounder in several respects. On 11th April 1896, he won the first Olympic medal in swimming of the modern age over 100 metres freestyle in Athens and the first Olympic gold medal for Hungary in this discipline. On the same day, he also won the race over 1200 metres freestyle. In 1898, he was the winner of several Hungarian athletics championships and played in the national football team of his country at that time. Meanwhile working as an architect, he received a prize for his design of the former Budapest swimming stadium in 1924. Then just as today, pools are, in a manner of speaking, the “sports equipment” of the best swimmers of the world. For the pools in and at the new Duna Aréna, one chose quality ceramics of the brand Agrob Buchtal

In the interior of the building, there are

  • a competition pool of 50 x 25 x 3 m,
  • a warm-up pool of 50 x 25 x 2.20 / 2.80 m (two depths because of movable floor),
  • a diving pool of 25 x 22 x 5 m and
  • a learners’ pool of 12.5 x 8 x 0.8 m.

In the outdoor area of the Duna Aréna, there are

  • a pool of 50 x 25 x 2.25 m with roofing as weather protection and
  • a pool of 25 x 21 x 2.20 m for short course competitions and training.

In addition, Agrob Buchtal tiles were used in the following areas:

  • approx. 2,000 m² of series ChromaPlural for the walls of changing rooms / corridors
  • approx. 6,000 m² of the series Quantum with grid profile for the pool surrounds.

Furthermore, the swimming centre “Császár-Komjádi” directly opposite of the Duna Aréna on the other bank of the Danube is also provided with ceramic tiles of Agrob Buchtal. There, the athletes can also practise under first-class conditions.

Just-in-time completion
Actually it was planned that Budapest will be the venue for the swimming WC after next in the year 2021. However, Guadalajara (second biggest city in Mexico) as initial host for 2017 had revoked the organization in February 2015. As a result, the plans for Budapest were revised and brought forward. In March 2015, the FINA gave its consent, the ground-breaking took place in May 2015 and already in spring of 2017, the most essential WC-relevant facilities of the Duna Aréna were completed at record speed. Thereafter, the pools in the outdoor area followed, so that - despite the nomination at relatively short notice - all constructions in Budapest could be realized just in time.

Architectural quality and high functionality
Already when looking at the building from outside, it conveys its function in a self-confident and at the same time filigree manner thanks to the elegant, wavelike forms of the long sides. For the edges of all the pools, one chose the modern System Finland of Agrob Buchtal: the sloping, beach-like pool edge inhibits water backflow and thus prevents a disadvantage for the swimmers in the outer lanes. In conjunction with the constant water depth of the competition pool of 3 m instead of the usual 2.20 m, ideal conditions for the athletes are created in this way. The other aspects of the ceramic pools also meet the requirements of the FINA, which is the precondition for the validity of official records. For the tiles of the series ChromaPlural in the pools, one intentionally chose the unpretentious, classic colours white and blue in order to avoid an unnecessary distraction of the swimmers, but to provide a professional stage for top-class sport. The same applies to the pool surrounds: the colour “alabaster-white“ of the series Quantum is fresh and neutral, but at the same time conveys visual warmth and prevents disturbing reflections thanks to the velvety surface. In addition, the operators of the Duna Aréna point out that the grid profile not only is slip-resistant but also particularly easy to clean.

Exposed position and well-planned utilization
Dr. Marcel Ferencz and György Détári (both from the office napur architect kft, Budapest) were responsible for the architecture of the new sports facility. The building is centrally located, i.e. approx. 4 km away from the city core on the eastern bank of the Danube, near the well-known “Margaret Island” (location of the water polo games of the WC in the “Alfred Hajos National Aquatics Complex“ situated there). The Duna Aréna has seats for approx. 6,000 spectators, temporary installations especially for the swimming WC offer additional 6,000 to 7,000 seats in the “championship mode“. After the WC, the planning provides that one section will be accessible for the public, and the other part of the facilities will still be professionally utilized for competitive sports and for the development of young talents in order to maintain the high level of the Hungarian swimming sport also in future.

Satisfaction and enthusiasm
In view of the impressive result, the FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu was very happy and pleased when inspecting the building in spring 2017. Basically, what he said is that the Duna Aréna certainly is one of the best facilities of this type world-wide, the organizers deserve the honest recognition and appreciation of the FINA and the best swimmers and water sports athletes of the planet find excellent conditions there for competing against each other.

Proven additional benefit
Agrob Buchtal tiles offer useful special advantages day after day thanks to the HT (Hydrophilic Tiles) coating. This innovative solution is durably baked onto the glaze already at the factory and is so robust that even floor tiles can be provided with it. The effect is activated by natural or artificial light. Tiles with HT are particularly easy to clean, have an antibacterial effect without using chemical products and eliminate unwelcome odours such as chlorine or air pollutants, thus ensuring a healthy indoor climate.

Werner Ziegelmeier (Head of Public Relations)
Phone: +49 (0)9435 / 391-33 79
Mobile: +49 (0)160 / 90 52 71 59
Fax: +49 (0)943 / 391-30 33 79

Essential parties involved in construction

Owner: Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő Zrt.
General Contractor: MARKET ÉPÍTŐ Zrt.
Architect: NAPUR Architect Kft
Dr. Marcel Ferencz
György Détári
General-Designer: TECTON Kft
Béla Varga
István Fodor
Ákos Pindes
Tamás Ükös
Interior Design: MCXVI Kft
Gábor Szokolyai
General Contractor: MOME

Motif 1

Whether by day (motif 1) or by night (motif 2): the new Duna Aréna in Budapest on the bank of the Danube is an eye-catcher at any time. The wavelike forms of the facade convey a self-confident and at the same time filigree impression.

Picture source (all motifs): AGROB BUCHTAL GmbH / Péter Molnàr


Motiv 2


Moitv 3

These two photos taken during the construction phase impressively illustrate the generous dimensions of this new water sports cathedral. One intentionally chose the clear and calm classic colours white and blue in order to avoid unnecessary distractions and to offer professional conditions.


Motif 4


Motiv 5

The competition pool is the core of the Duna Aréna. It offers ideal conditions, e.g. thanks to the pool edge system Finland (see motif 9) and a constant water depth of 3 metres.


Motif 6

The diving pool also satisfies highest demands. The pool with the size of 25 x 22 m has a depth of 5 m and is located under the abstract “Budapest“ lettering with subtle city silhouette.


Motif 7

The 50 x 25 m large warm-up pool is another part of the Duna Aréna - without stands, so that the athletes can prepare for the competition without being disturbed.


Motif 8

The learners’ pool (foreground) next to the warm-up pool (background) indicates that a part of the new facility is also used for the mass sport.


Motif 9

The pools of the Duna Aréna are provided with the modern pool edge system “Finland“ of Agrob Buchtal. The beach-like slope prevents “rebound” of water and permits a uniform overflow.