2016—Dennis L. Shippey Aquatic Center

Pasadena ISD—Dennis L. Shippey Aquatic Center
Architect: cre8 Architects

The Dennis Shippey Aquatic Center is a new building located at the existing Pasadena ISD Veterans Memorial Sports Complex site in Pasadena, Texas. The 24,000 sf facility serves as the competition swimming and diving pool for the District’s aquatic athletics department. The 37-meter pool allows the District to host both high school level swimming and diving competitions simultaneously.


To be a Good Neighbor, we kept the Aquatic Center building profile low, used low lighting and strived for an unobtrusive presence in the neighborhood. The project is centrally located and walk able for a lot of residents, so we extended the site’s sidewalks to the surrounding community. The Aquatic Center is available for use by local competitive swimming clubs. Grass is provided on 3 sides  of the Center to entice family and friends to bring lawn chairs and a picnic to enjoy at swim meets.


The design incorporates glass overhead doors on the north and south elevations to open the building to the adjacent grassy yards which accommodate the public and athletes. Riser seating is  provided on the interior for spectators. Materials were chosen  to complement the existing buildings at the sports campus,  and in consideration of the corrosive nature of an aquatic facility. An exposed structure system is used for its aesthetic expression as well as structural support of the building.


The Planning Process involved numerous meetings with District Administration, Athletics Staff, Swim Team and Design Team. We were asked with creating a high impact, small footprint, neighborhood friendly Aquatic Center that fully accommodated a Competition Swim program. The planning process determined that the Center would fit on the existing Sports Campus and utilize the existing parking lot, saving the District from a capital outlay for both real estate and parking pavement.


No Air Conditioning! The design takes advantage of the geographical position of the site by orienting its long sides North and South to maximize daylight and reduce heat gain, which allows for the southeastern winds from the Gulf to flow through the opened overhead doors providing natural ventilation of the pool area. This is accomplished by a “chimney effect” that allows the hot air to rise and exit through the louvers on the roof cupola, creating cross ventilation to cool the Aquatic Center.


Value—Star of DistinctionThe Center is situated on an existing campus so there was no added expense of land purchase. No Air Conditioning! The design captures & circulates prevailing winds. Square footage was reduced by providing inside-outside accommodations for athletes and spectators which allowed for fewer risers, and the 37-meter pool hosts swimming & diving competitions simultaneously. Durable, budget friendly materials were used to withstand the caustic nature of aquatic centers.

School Transformation


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner