Aquatic Play Revitalizes Summer Fun in Paterna


Like neighboring cities in Valencia, Spain, the city of Paterna enjoys hot, dry Mediterranean summers. Most towns offer their residents access to a summer pool, or Piscina Municipal de Verano. In its traditional form, the pool is 25 x 12.5 meters, with a splash area and shallow entrance that slopes down to a deep end. And while it does provide a way to cool off, its significant water consumption and maintenance costs made its upkeep difficult. The city of Paterna elected to upgrade its disused pool to both enhance appeal for families and increase sustainability.

Vortex Aquatic Structures International worked in close collaboration with architect and aquatic designer Jorge Barata to design and build an aquatic play installation within the existing pool’s footprint. The result is a refurbished pool with an Elevations™ structure and a Splashpad® that encourages endless hours of aquatic fun for the families of Paterna.


Technical and logistical problems had kept the municipal pool closed in recent years, and a complete overhaul was required if it was to be reopened. Traditional pools were falling out of favor with the Spanish public, in particular among families with young children who were restricted to the shallow end, which often became quite crowded. With community play needs shifting dramatically, these spaces no longer harbored the engagement they once did.

A complete re-imagining of the facility to bolster inclusivity, play value, and cost-effectiveness was called for if the pool was to reclaim its former status as a community centerpiece. The decision was made to expand the pool’s shallow and zero-depth play areas and refurbish the installations to create a sustainable facility that was fun and appealing. With an Elevations™ structure and a Splashpad®, the pool makes optimal use of the available space to entertain every member of the family in its various play areas.


To maximize play opportunities for the youngest residents of Paterna, the area directly adjacent to the shallow pool was designed as a zero-depth Splashpad®. Water alternately sprays up from ground elements or rains down from raised nature-inspired features that cast playful shadows. The most impressive of them all is the tall, brightly colored spider that towers over the Splashpad on long legs, refreshing all nearby with multidirectional water sprays.

A custom multi-level Elevations™ structure is set in the shallow-depth pool and features spray elements and two low-speed waterslides, including a swirling enclosed flume slide. At the top of the structure, a large Supersplash dumping bucket fills, then tips, sending cascading water down on everyone gathered in anticipation below. Features combine to entice children of all ages into an interactive, social play experience.


The new design also leaves room for a traditional pool experience, ensuring parents can enjoy a few laps before retreating to the ample poolside area, to lounge and relax while keeping an eye on the little ones. Families were quick to accept the invitation to the new facility, as over a thousand people enjoyed the pool on its opening day.

Since then, attendance has remained high, making it a key summer destination that truly meets the recreational needs of the residents of Paterna. The laughter of children mingling with the sounds of splashing water is the best testament to the play value of the revitalized complex. As for the city, it is pleased with the influx of satisfied users, the greater sustainability of its new amenity, and the fact that its project has successfully set the standard for municipal pools in the province of Valencia.

  • Solution Types Elevations™ & PlayNuk
  • Location Spain
    - Parks & Aquatic Centers
  • Opened June 2018
  • Architect Jorge Barata

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