Sports Centre, University of Birmingham

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Birmingham, 2017

 

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The 13,000m2 centre’s facilities include sports halls – one able to accommodate up to nine badminton courts – squash courts, dance studios, gym facilities and Birmingham’s only Olympic-sized 50m-long swimming pool 

Paul Riddle     Download Original

  • The 13,000m2 centre’s facilities include sports halls – one able to accommodate up to nine badminton courts – squash courts, dance studios, gym facilities and Birmingham’s only Olympic-sized 50m-long swimming pool    
  • The centre is open to the public as well as students    
  • The centre has a multipurpose brief    
  • An insulated aluminium standing-seam roof system is supported on 24m-long Siberian Larch glulam beams at 3m centres to correspond with the brick piers and colonnade columns    
  • The brick surfaces are animated by panels in relief and textured patterning, giving each segment of building a distinctive appearance    
  • The building is rated BREEAM Excellent    
  • A slender precast concrete colonnade gives the building a deep, animated edge    
  • The squash courts    
  • One of the indoor courts    
  • The reception area    
  • Location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Axonometric drawing    
  • Swimming pool detail section    

LDS’s Sport and Fitness Centre includes sports halls, squash courts, dance studios, gym facilities and Birmingham’s only Olympic-sized 50m-long swimming pool.

The brick bond comprises three rows of stretchers and one row of headers. The brick surfaces are animated by panels in relief and textured patterning, giving each segment of building a distinctive appearance while breaking up what would otherwise be very large expanses of blank wall. The car park’s façade, for instance, has vertical open slots to create a grilled wall for ventilation. 

The main entrance to the west, approached by this colonnade and accessed from the A38, pulls forward from the swimming pool block. This section is cowelled in bronze to give it accent. Inside there’s a lofty entrance lobby, dominated by a climbing wall served from a balcony at first floor level. A café leads off to the right, overlooking the pool, while access to all the sports facilities is directly ahead. The service spine runs up from entrance, containing all changing facilities – dry change at ground level and wet change a half-level down. Due to the slope, the spine aligns with the level of the swimming pool to the south. 

The swimming pool itself sits under a glulam-beamed roof and is designed with flexibility of use in mind. Its full Olympic size can be divided by a boom into two 25m-long pools, while a moveable floor on one means its depth can be reduced to just 0.5m if required for tuition.  Next to it, at the eastern end, are stacked two generous daylit dance class studios, gym facilities – with glimpses through to the swimming pool and squash courts – and laboratories and consulting rooms. In the strip to the north, sports halls provide competition-quality spaces, painted blue for super-high definition broadcast and fitted with retractable bleacher seating. 

Despite the contingencies of ventilation and swimming pool plant, the building is rated BREEAM Excellent. The M&E services team of Couch Perry Wilkes worked closely with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands to ensure sustainability was embedded into the design from the start. This manifested itself in an efficient building form combined with enhanced envelope U-values to encourage excellent levels of daylight in the pool area and to limit heat loss throughout.

With the building’s inherent energy demands curbed, it was down to the M&E team to appropriately service the development’s zones, building on its skills gained in recent large-scale Passivhaus design projects, and decarbonising the energy supply to meet the challenging EPC A-rating target. 

Data

  • Begun: Feb 2014
  • Completed: May 2017
  • Floor area: 13,205m2
  • Sectors: Education, Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £3.5M
  • Procurement: Design and Build

  • CO2 Emissions: 60.4kg/m2/year
  • Address: Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom

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