Our concept for the Aquaticum waterpark of Debrecen does not wish to compete with other aquatic institutions, instead it aspires to create something new and unique. This plan was part of a long term, large scale investment strategy that involves Nagyerdei Stadium and the rehabilitation of the surroundings of Békás lake.

Debrecen is not only the second most populated city in Hungary but it is also the cultural and scientific centre of the region. As part of the ambitious long-term development plan of the municipality, the plan was to renew the environmentally protected city park and to turn into a unique recreational area, a must-see in Central Europe. Some of the already completed projects of the development were: the Nagyerdő Stadium, the Békás-Lake, the Open-Air Theatre of Nagyerdő, the Water Tower of Nagyerdő and the Ködszínház (Fog-theatre). One of the last items of the development plan was the Aquaticum Waterpark.

In 2015 Aquaticum Waterpark Debrecen issued an architectural design competition for the reconstruction of the spa. The city leaders wished to have a popular spa that is generally suitable and available for all age groups. Apart from this they also emphasised the importance of the natural surroundings, the spa’s connection to Debrecen and it being the iconic symbol of the city despite its hiding in the shades of the grove. The design of BORD Architectural Studio won 1st prize of the competition.

The architectural concept focuses on the life-giving aspect of water and the breathtaking forest environment. Water and flora appear on both horizontal and vertical surfaces of the spa: the water in the pools, the lawn, the water curtains, the waterfalls, the walls covered by plants

The spa is on the same location as its predecessor used to be and it also connects to the already existing building of Aquaticum too. Due to the protected forest area the plotting mainly followed the original planting. The trees envelope the lawn of the waterpark area where the novel spa experience elements appear like pieces of a mosaic.

A rectangular shape made of water is in the centre that is permeated by green surfaces inspired by the surrounding forest.  The sculpture-like, spectacular main unit places water and the forest environment into a completely new dimension providing a wonderful selection of the natural beauties of Nagyerdő to the audience.

The main entrance of the Spa is from the recently completed Nagyerdő promenade. The long, single storey entrance, which is situated on the property line, connects the new pedestrian pathway and the waterpark like a bridge. The entrance building includes the changing rooms, the restrooms, the shops and a colourful food court as well. The restaurants, featuring a diverse selection of international cuisine, are going to be accessible from the waterpark and the pathway as well. The long, flat volume of the building settles in the landscape beautifully looking at it from the direction of the spa. On its top there is a green roof, the curvy shape of which resembles a wave.

From the direction of the entrance the first thing we see is the central visual piece of the waterpark: a 196m x 26m floor-place size, 12m high cuboid. This unit is open and permeable on all sides and incorporates a number of functions such as: a 4m deep swimmingpool, an adventure pool with a 400m long slide, a water-cave, another swimming and teaching pool, a thermal water pool, a relaxation zone, a sunbathing terrace and bars. In between the different functions meander a number of 12m high walls covered in greeneries and water. From the sunbathing terrace the visitors can feast their eyes on the Nagyerdő from a completely new perspective.

The kids’ water theme park was inspired by the animation “Treasure Planet” with its pirate boat sailing in between stars.  This super exciting pirate nest with cannons, balloons and slides were created with the help of Eleven Ltd. There are different pools for the different age groups of children: kids’ pool, baby pool, spray park and a wave pool as well. There are three thermal water pools, a ‘lazy river’ and a kids’ theatre too. The new spa is looking forward to welcome its visitors with 5624m2 water surface and an incomparable water experience.

Project info

  • Project Name Aquaticum Water Park
  • Location Debrecen, Hungary
  • Capacity 4008 people at a time
  • Net water surface 5 624 m2
  • Budget 9.5 milliárd Ft (27 400 000 EURO)
  • Years of Design 2017-2018
  • Year of Completion 2020
  • Client Debreceni Gyogyfurdo Ltd.
  • General Design BORD Architectural Studio
  • Head Architect Peter Bordas
  • Coordinating Architect Dalma Kiss
  • Architect Team Zsolt Belanyi, Robert Gulyas, Noemi Gyarfas, Dorottya Hindy, Anna Illes, Artur Lente, Linda Lente-Papp, Tamas Mezey, Balazs Moser, Gyorgyi Puspoki, Viola Toth, Istvan Ulmann, Reka Zsolyomi, Kata Zih
  • Garden and Landscape Architecture Gardenworks: Judit Doma-Tarcsanyi, Beatrix Bocs; BORD Architectural Studio: Andrea Waldmann
  • Mechanical Engineering BORD Architectural Studio - Zoltan Hollokovi
  • Structural Engineering Hydrastat Engineering - Zsigmond Dezso
  • Visual Design Homologue - Zoltan Olbey
  • Mock-up Limes Model - Geza Csizmazia
  • Glass Design Zsofia Szonyegi textile designer, artist
  • Construction Hunep Ltd
  • Photo Tamas Bujnovszky, Anna Illes