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The mechanical and electrical engineering systems were developed to provide a fresh, healthy, comfortable and safe environment, and to integrate all technical requirements into the structure and fabric of the building. lda Architects and Hoare Lea & Partners collaborated in delivering a clean, simple structure whilst ensuring that the generally concealed systems are maintainable, flexible and energy efficient.

The pool hall environment is maintained by 100 per cent fresh air delivered via a 'dry' duct. This is a concealed access void, below the pool deck at the pool perimeter, from which warm dry air 'washes' over the structure, protecting it from condensation and consequent corrosion. The volume of air flow is varied to optimise energy use while controlling humidity. All air is filtered and passes through the pool halls only once, avoiding a build up of corrosive contaminants in the building.

All occupied areas including changing areas, the health suite and the bar/cafeteria are provided with 100 per cent fresh air. The ventilation plant is on the roof, giving unrestricted access for maintenance without having an impact on the occupied area.

The main items of engineering plant are located below the pool hall's spectator seating, releasing valuable floor area. Each pool has its own water-treatment plant, based on simple, proven and reliable chlorine disinfection for efficiency and ease of maintenance.

Two features not often found in pools are the variable-depth floor to the learner pool and the use of an existing borehole water supply to provide make-up water lost by flushing the pool filters clean. The pool halls are illuminated using a mixture of uplighters and downlighters positioned to avoid glare on the pool surface while providing optimum lighting levels for bather safety and competition swimming. Luminaires and lamps complement the architect's requirement for a high standard of finishes.

David Marshall, Hoare Lea & Partners

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