Fitness Centre - Bedford School

mk40 architects, Bedford, 2011


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Extension and refurbishment of the fitness suite within the existing recreation centre

The project involved the extension and the refurbishment of the School’s existing gym area into a new high specification fitness centre. The site for the project was in the centre of the existing Recreation Centre; at the junction between three building construction types. The location for the new Fitness Centre was also adjacent to the School’s theatre and swimming pool.

A curved timber veneered ceiling system has been installed which addresses several difficult aspects of the brief. Firstly it gives a identity and aesthetic appearance to the space, and with the curve extending out into the entrance area defines the new space visually from the Recreation Centre entrance area. The different shaped existing roofs above the new ceiling are hidden and the space, which is an amalgamation of several rooms including a corridor, is read as a unified area. Finally the ceiling has integral acoustic properties which reduce the reverberation within the space.

The language of oak has been extended into the joinery and finishes throughout the space, including mirror surrounds and bespoke reception and storage units. The School colours and logos have also been incorporated around the refurbishment to reinforce the Fitness Centre’s identity.

Technically there were some difficult solutions to resolve. The setting out and construction of the timber ceiling and its integration around the sky lights and entrance area was crucial to the scheme. The acoustic separation between the Fitness Centre and the theatre had some intricate detailing: noise was previously transferred to the neighbouring theatre through the floors, walls, ceiling, externally and through internal ducts and conduits. All these aspects were treated acoustically to ensure the theatre was as acoustically separate from the Fitness Centre as possible.


  • Begun: Jul 2011
  • Completed: Sep 2011
  • Floor area: 205m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £234,000
  • Tender date: May 2011
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Recreation Centre, Bedford School, De Parys Avenue, Bedford, MK40 2TU, United Kingdom

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