Wembley Swimming Pool (Wembley Arena)

Sir Owen Williams, London, 1934


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View of the main hall and swimming pool 

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  • View of the main hall and swimming pool    
  • The south facing and rear elevations    
  • The main entrance elevation    
  • The exterior concrete fins on the facade    
  • The main hall looking towards the entrance    
  • Exit doors on east elevation    
  • A view along the promenade restaurant    
  • Lower ground floor plan    
  • Ground floor plans    
  • Longitudinal section    
  • Cross section    

The world's largest swimming pool built for the 1934 Empire Games incorporating swimming pool, auxiliary spaces, changing rooms and resturants

The design contains a 200ft by 60ft (61m by 18m) swimming pool with a capacity of 650,000 gallons, which could be decked over to provide a tournament area or ice skating rink.

The building itself is 128m by 73m including the annexes at the back and front of the building which give structural support to the gable walls. Within the annexes are housed the turnstile halls, retiring rooms and offices, kitchens and staff quarters. The main is made up of 13m lengths housing exits, buffet bars and lavatories while the changing rooms are below ground level and access via staircases at each gamble end.

The building is entirely constructed in reinforced concrete with the main hall forming a three hinged arch of 72m. The roof is stiffened by planes of concrete intersecting at right angles producing a fin-like effect on the exterior. The ventilation of the building is natural with the height substantial enough to create a 'stack' effect.

In 2005 the building was completely refurbished and is now the Wembley Arena.


  • Begun: Oct 1933
  • Completed: May 1934
  • Sectors: Public realm, Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £150,000
  • Address: Wembley Arena, Arena Square, London, HA9 0DH, United Kingdom

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