with Darwen BC
Location: Darwen, Lancashire
Completion date: December 2009
Contract type: PPC 2003
Procurement method: Competitive tendering and
Project construction value: £10.6m
Services provided: Architecture, Quantity
Surveying, Structural Engineering Mechanical and Electrical
Engineering, Project Management, Fire Risk Engineering
The new Darwen Leisure Centre
is situated in a prominent and elevated position in the town centre
- forming a ‘campus’ with the new health centre. The
centre takes full advantage of its elevated position being
visible from, and having views to, many locations
throughout the town.
The new facilities include:
- a 25m, eight-lane pool with a movable
floor and boom,
- separate learner pool
- sports hall
- two multi-function rooms which are
capable of being combined to form a single room
- fitness suite
- health suite with sauna and steam
- changing areas
- a café
Wherever practical, generous glazing
is provided to activity spaces - giving a ‘shop window’
for the centre. These windows are angled and provided with part
obscured glazing, to give oblique views of the activity, suggesting
a sense of permeability and accessibility, whilst maintaining
privacy for individual users.
The site level change of around four
meters is utilised by arranging the internal accommodation over 3
levels. The main entrance leads to the middle level and onto the,
’street’, a generous, naturally lit and clearly legible space. The
roof of the street extends beyond the building to clearly signal
the entrance. It provides the main circulation and congregation
space within the centre, as well as access to viewing galleries
which overlook the pools and sports hall. ‘Wet’ spaces, such as the
pool, are generally arranged to the North of the Street, and ‘Dry’
areas, such as the sports hall, to the South.
Darwen’s urban environment is
reflected in the external envelope with brick, ceramic cladding and
copper being the main facing materials. The new building is
generally two storey in height with parapet roofs to further
enhance its scale.
A stone portico, held in considerable
affection by the local community, from the now demolished leisure
centre, is retained and re-used as part of the external
The leisure centre hopes to enhance
and extend the lives of local residents who have a very poor record
of health and fitness, and a significantly lower life expectancy
compared the average for England and Wales.
It is the clients ambition that the
new leisure centre and health centre campus will stimulate an
improvement in local heath and wellbeing.
Capita Symonds also provided fire
engineering value including:
- Offering an alternative from the
provision of mechanical smoke extract system.
- The introduction of a likely design
fire scenario to control any smoke production as a result
of fire in the avenue.
- The provision of a passive natural
ventilation strategy based upon prediction of the smoke production
and calculation of the smoke reservoir and maintaining a clear
smoke layer height of 7.5m.