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The Architecture Behind Jesuit’s New Natatorium

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The Architecture Behind Jesuit’s New Natatorium

Set to open in April 2021, the Jesuit Natatorium has been a project in the making since early 2017. I decided to look at the new campus addition from an architectural standpoint. Through Mr. Alex Soich, Jesuit’s Chief Financial Officer, I was able to ask the following questions of Jesuit’s Architecture firm, HKS.

Q: How long did the design process take?

A: “The design process began in earnest in the spring of 2017. Although the majority of design elements were completed prior to breaking ground in July 2019, minor details have continued throughout construction.”

Q: Did Jesuit have any influence on the design? (for example: color scheme, incorporation of school identity)

A: “Specifically regarding the design process, HKS, our architecture firm, worked collaboratively with the school and donors to create a design that seemed intentional with the other buildings on campus. Because of our planned development, PD, with the city of Dallas, we had to locate the natatorium where it was constructed.”

Q: Did the swim coaches have any influence on the design?

A: “Within the school, Coach Moyse was consulted about the design and utility of some of the design aspects.”

Q: How many renditions of the design were there?

A: “While there was only one rendition of the design, it was an evolving design process. Said another way, we did not ask the architect to design 3 different buildings and picked one.”

Q: Did you also do the landscape planning or was a landscape architect hired?

A: “We utilized a sub contractor and landscape consultant for our design and landscaping work, which has not begun on site.”

Q: What are the main materials used to construct the building?

A: “In terms of materials, it’s not entirely accurate to define the main materials used in construction but concrete and steel are signature elements within the design and construction.”

Q: How many gallons of water does it take to fill the pool?

A: “The competition pool holds roughly 381,000 gallons of water. The warm-up pool holds roughly 69,000 gallons of water.”

Q: Did any of your past projects influence the design of this building?

A: “The design was based on the surrounding campus. The curvature of the building is meant to match surrounding buildings on campus and look intentional as if it were constructed with the other buildings as part of one holistic design.”

Q: How did COVID affect progress?

A: “COVID has not greatly impacted the construction of the building.”

Q: With the timeline that was created, did you manage to finish designing before or after the deadline?

A: “Additional facilities such as hand washing stations were added to the job site but ultimately, construction was able to progress and stay on schedule.”

Everyday, as we walk from the Anderson and Senior parking lots to school, we see the construction of the natatorium underway. We can all appreciate what we see on the surface level, but diving deeper into the process behind the construction of the building gives a whole new perspective.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Mr. Alex Soich for facilitating this Q&A with HKS.