Abingdon School in Oxfordshire is an independent senior school for around 800 boys, with a reputation for sporting excellence. They wished to improve and expand existing facilities with an exemplar low energy building in the grounds. Our structural and building services engineers were appointed to develop the scheme.
The purpose-built sports facility provides an 8-lane, 25m swimming pool, squash courts and a hall for judo, fencing and dancing, in addition to changing rooms, hospitality and function suites. The new complex wraps around the refurbished existing sports hall and occupies the former site of an outdoor pool. The location is constrained by a Grade II listed masonry boundary wall and buildings to the east and west. A redwood tree has its root protection zone under the heart of the building.
Radial footings and a temporary suspended slab were used to protect tree roots during construction. Concrete footings cantilever against the boundary wall to minimise disturbance and remedial ties were installed. A steel frame wraps around the existing structure, and supports the first floor slab. The frame consists of three independent elements, which facilitated works in the restricted space.
Large windows are a feature of the steel and glulam frame structure that houses the new pool. The pool is constructed in a waterproof concrete box-within-a-box, enabling the formation of a plenum for ventilation. Pool plant and access are also located here. The roof is composed of double-curved timber glulam beams tied with steel rods. Walls are a mixture of glazing, local stone and red cedar cladding.
Thermal modelling helped integrate the new and existing buildings to satisfy planning requirements and identify low energy options. Natural lighting has been used where possible and timber louvres provide shade. Lighting and ventilation selections balanced efficiency with a quality finish.