This contract was awarded after a limited design competition. The construction cost of the project was £18.5 million, which includes an 8-lane, 25 metre competition pool, learner pool, fitness suite, exercise studios, sports hall, gymnastics hall and all the usual ancillary facilities. A branch library and one stop information centre has also been incorporated into the scheme.
The building received an award from the R.I.C.S as the “Best Community Project” in the greater London area.
Located within an urban parkland setting, the brief for the design competition was to preserve existing outdoor sporting facilities in the northern section of the park and protect an avenue of protected lime trees that occupied approximately one third of the depth of the southern section. Given these constraints, BRL Architects developed a concept that integrated the lime trees into the development by creating a ‘horse-shoe’ shaped arrangement, wrapping around the trees and encapsulating them in a central courtyard.
This courtyard would provide the route to the centrally located entrance. From this entrance, users would travel left to the wet side or right to the dry side facilities. The first floor fitness suite would be visible from the courtyard on the approach to the building through full height glazing.
BRL Architects were successful in winning the design competition and were responsible for developing the design through all stages of production. This contract was administered through Atkins on behalf of the Council under the NEC form of contract.
Shortly after the construction phase commenced, the Council made the decision to remove the lime trees despite their retention forming an integral part of the original brief, and utilise the courtyard area for an additional gymnastics hall. A new library was also requested to form part of a larger scheme. In response, BRL Architects quickly redesigned the building such that the foundations and steelwork of the horse-shoe shaped elements could progress, whilst a fresh planning application was lodged. During the planning determination period, BRL Architects amended the building regulation and working drawing package to ensure programme was unduly affected.
In terms of carbon reduction features, the building at the time boasted the largest array of roof mounted solar panels in greater London and included a grey water harvesting system as well as a large CHP unit.