Northern England : David Guy
David Guy, North Yorkshire, England : Glenn Murcutt Master Class 2002
[ urban : leisure centre : pool : concrete : timber : heritage issues ]
Victoria Leisure Centre, Nottingham, England
David Guy , Levitate Architects
Victoria Leisure Centre is a new chapter in the provision of leisure facilities on this historic site in the centre of Nottingham city, which extends a nationwide campaign to promote health, leisure and wellbeing as core components of contemporary city life.
Originally commissioned to carry out an options study in October 2008, Levitate began by researching the centre’s history, a timeline back to the 1850’s open air baths and culminating in a 1970’s faceless monolithic brick range of squash courts. The decision was made to retain the 1890s clock tower as an entrance to a new state of the art facility with a community pool, café and fitness suite with views out to Sneinton Market Square.
The new façade is designed to sit in harmony with the clock tower while resolving level changes and edge conditions that relate to the newly pedestrianised square. The configuration of the concertina façade screen echoes with the geometry of the pool’s baffled rooflights, in response to key functional requirements, to reduce glare for the lifeguards, and to create a balance between engagement and privacy.
The main entrance of the building is under the existing clock tower, the reception area is located within the historic building, that leads to a double height foyer from which every part of the facility can be accessed.
The pool hall is designed to have a calm warmth. This is achieved by generous proportions, the use of cross laminated timber for the roof structure, an abundance of controlled natural light, and an absence of ventilation paraphernalia.
The relationship between the interior of the pool hall and the public square was a key generator of the design.