The opening of Hengrove Park Leisure Centre was a date to celebrate for thousands of local people in Bristol. The state-of-the-art pool and leisure centre opened its doors, ready to showcase the region’s newest and most spectacular, multi-million pound leisure facility.
The £35m Hengrove Park Leisure Centre has been built on the site of a former airport. Its facilities include a 10-lane, 50m international-standard swimming pool, a 20m teaching pool with a moveable floor, sports hall, a dedicated spin studio, climbing wall, a 150-station fitness gym, a healthy living centre, and café and crèche. Bristol City Council along with contractors, Kier Construction, leisure provider, Parkwood Leisure, LA Architects and Ramboll formed the team that have brought the project to fruition. The architectural design features large areas of curtain walling that are almost transparent, giving a feeling of space and provide unobstructed views from the interior out on to the landscaped central plaza. The glazed facades also provide high levels of natural light and give the building a calm reflective feel at night.
The pool has a structural steel frame with the roof supported on a network of cellular beams spanning 37.5metres. In order to enhance light levels and create an interesting feature for swimmers, an elevated ‘bubble effect’ has been created over the central portion of the pool roof. The steelwork in this area is partially hidden by a suspended ceiling formed from a series of acoustic baffles that filter light and sound.
The Local Authority requirements called for the main structure to have a guaranteed life of 60 years with minimal maintenance. Traditional painting methods, utilising Chlorinated Rubber, were quickly discounted and the benefits of a factory applied, robust, homogenous finish led to hot dip galvanizing being selected. In addition to the main frame, galvanized components were used extensively throughout the project including structural steel frames around plant equipment and galvanized angle framework that supported the extensive suspended ceilings throughout the facility.
Structural Engineer for the project, Ramboll, researched the benefits of using galvanizing on a wider front. The sustainability benefits gained by using galvanizing over other methods of protection were quickly realised, in fact Hengrove is the first centre in the UK with a 50m swimming pool to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.
Architect: LA Architects
Image: Kier Construction