Architects enhance riverside with striking new leisure centre design

03 October, 2016

A new £21.6 million leisure centre planned for Chelmsford will mirror its serene surroundings by the River Chelmer as architects Pick Everard have used eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing design features.

Instructed by Chelmsford City Council through a competitive negotiated tender procurement process, the leading independent management, design and construction consultancy is delivering full design services on replacing the council’s existing 1960’s leisure centre with a more energy efficient and fit for purpose leisure facility.

Features like bubble cladding, blue tinted glass and eco-friendly materials are being used to make the building blend into its surroundings next to the river.

The new leisure complex, which abuts an existing ice rink, will house a large 25m x 10 lane swimming pool, along with two further teaching and fun pools and a flume. In addition, there will be a 120-station gym, health and fitness studios, soft play, crèche, ice skating facilities, and a large foyer reception area with café and external terrace for use by the whole community.

The scheme is part of the redevelopment of the Riverside area by the council to create a gateway to the city centre. It will see in excess of £500million pumped into the area over the next three years.

Keith Prendergast, director at Pick Everard, said: “We are delighted to be appointed onto this exciting new project for Chelmsford City Council and look forward to working closely with the local authority and all the stakeholders.

“We have a vast amount of experience in delivering leisure facilities across the UK, providing our clients with high quality design solutions whilst also delivering great value for money.

“This project was very much about creating an aesthetically pleasing building as well as housing first class facilities for users and raising the profile of Chelmsford.”

As part of the design stages, colour schemes and shapes have been carefully chosen by Pick Everard to reflect the environment that the centre sits within. Its architects designed exterior walls surrounding the swimming pool with blue glass, which turns into white cladding with bubble shaped holes to recreate the idea of a river with bubbles rising out of the water.

Pick Everard, which employs more than 450 staff across the UK, providing a range of project, cost and design consultancy services through its ten UK offices, is also taking a fabric first approach to design the centre. This is to ensure that it selects the right materials using BIM Level 2 and Government Soft Landings to deliver a BREEAM qualified, energy efficient facility which will help the council make savings on running costs.

With experience of delivering many other schemes in the leisure sector, including an Olympic Legacy Project in Hadleigh Park, Essex, where the exhilarating London 2012 Olympic mountain bike events took place, Pick Everard is working closely with the council to achieve its aims.

Chelmsford City Council’s cabinet member for leisure, councillor Julia Jeapes, said: “The new leisure centre will be designed to provide access to the widest possible cross-section of the community under the principle ‘the best leisure offer for the most people’, providing an affordable family-friendly attraction suitable for all.

“Later this year we will be able to see the designs coming together and I hope at this point people will be inspired at the thought of having this fantastic facility in our city centre.”

The new Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre will be constructed on the same site as the existing facility. Construction is planned to start in July 2017. The existing centre will remain open throughout the construction period. When the new centre is complete, the old facility will be demolished to make way for further redevelopment opportunities.

Once complete, Pick Everard will also monitor the building’s energy efficiency usage to check that is it operating as it has been designed.

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