No place in Japan has a more iconic landscape than Shizuoka. The Shizuoka Prefecture’s main industrial hub, Fuji city is tucked between the country’s famous tourism destination and the Pacific Ocean. In this city and on the backdrop of picturesque Mount Fuji, sits a quintessential structure, designed by Showa Sekkei. 

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View of Fuji Swimming Pools__©ShowaSekkei

Showa Sekkei is an almost 65-year-old architecture and design firm. It was founded in Japan, in 1957. With cutting-edge designs and up-to-date technology, it is known for its advanced structural aesthetics. Having a pioneering spirit, respecting people, and utilizing human resources creatively is the essence of the organization. With an emphasis on technology, the firm offers design solutions that give justice to the client’s requirements, the site, and the surroundings. 

About the Fuji Swimming Pool | Shizuoka Prefecture

One such remarkable structure built by them is a swimming pool complex, called Fuji Swimming Pools. As mentioned before, it is designed in the context of Mount Fuji. It was planned as the main venue for the national sports festival which was hosted back in 2003. Among other things, it was supposed to host the elite athletes of the country from 2019 to 2021 and perhaps beyond. The Fuji swimming pool structure was inaugurated in 2002 and has been awarded four times.

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Site and Surroundings of Fuji Swimming Pools_©ShowaSekkei

About Brief and Planning

The project brief called for the design of a swimming pool complex. Showa Sekkei architects designed it by considering it as a holistic structure with services, circulation, and materials. The structure holds a racing pool, diving pool, and a training room on a total area of 13,278-meter square. All pools are built and designed to the standard of JASF (Japan swimming federation – international standards). 

Racing Pool 

This pool is 50mt x 10 lanes with 1.2 meters of water depth. Then there are two pools with 25mt x 10 lanes. There is a unique feature of this swimming pool in that the floors and walls are movable. The standard depth of the pool is kept at 1.2 mt but it can be adjusted to the depths of 0m, 0.45m, 0.9m, 1.2m, 1.4m, 1.6m, 2.0m, 3.0m. Showa Sekkei architects considered a moving floor mechanism when designing the space. As walls are movable too, the 50-meter pool can be opened up as a 25 meter of two short lanes. 

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Racing Swimming Pool_©

Diving Pool | Shizuoka Prefecture

The diving pool has 1-meter and 3-meter springboards and 5m, 7.5m, and 10m diving boards. The diving pool also has adjustable floors. The depth of the pool can be adjusted to the 0m 0.45m 0.6m 0.9m 1.2m 2.0m 3.0m 4.2m 5.0m. The roof height is designed to accommodate varying dive board heights. 

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Racing Swimming Pool_©

Training room 

The training room is a facility provided to maintain the overall wellness of the trainee. This gym houses all of the fitness equipment necessary to build stamina. Skill development is also carried out in accordance with international standards. 

Structure and Material | Shizuoka Prefecture

The swimming pool enclosure was designed by Showa Sekkei architects and clad with 220M stainless steel membrane by NSSC. There is a distinct aesthetic difference between the exterior and interior of the building. This exterior is finished in stainless steel and has a metallic texture meant to resemble a drop of water when looked at from Fuji Mountain.  

The interior of the structure is designed and executed in wood. It ensures the stability of the long span. The side of the pool is cladded with a wooden surface that extends outside in the form of a deck. This makes it an extended open amenity which is not usually seen in conventional facilities. 

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Interior of Fuji Swimming Pool_©ShowaSekkei

Team Showa Sekkei believes that the forms of the building very largely depend upon their utility. Structures like the Fuji swimming pool require structural systems to achieve it. It needs to respond to the maximum footfall of people that can gather for events and competitions. In the Fuji swimming pool, wooden ribs support the structural grid above. The curve form of the structure is achieved and is portrayed with the seamless cladding of steel. 

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Wooden Flooring and Ribs_©ShowaSekkei

The facility accommodates various national-level competitions and is open to locals as well. The flexibility in design allows the structure to incorporate the programs as per the city’s and sport’s requirements. Rule of sport, the requirements of players and visitors act as a central idea of design. 

Designing such structures involves balancing functionality, economic efficiency, rationality, structural aesthetics, and safety. The curves and subtle colours of the structure provide an interesting contrast between the surroundings. The design respects the site and frames the view of Mount Fuji between its curves. As a tangible representation of the country’s pride, it stands out within the given context. It will serve to develop the young talents of the country. The facility is a work of poetry in itself, and one that will remain in the memory for a long time!

Fuji Swimming Pools_©ShowaSekkei



Radhika is a storyteller first and an architect second. She believes that architecture is a powerful tool to address society. It is one of the easiest forms of art which is directly used and understood by every person, for ages. She is a writing enthusiast, who loves to capture the world and her ideas with pen, paper and lens.