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FaulknerBrowns nets approvals for a £270m Swindon ski village

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FaulknerBrowns has won the go-ahead for a new £270 million indoor snow centre and leisure village in Swindon

The main winter-sport centre, featuring two snow slopes, sits within a wider application recently approved by Swindon Borough Council including shops, bars, a 13-screen cinema with the largest IMAX screen in the UK, a bowling alley, an indoor trampolining centre and a 130-room hotel.

The 41,050m² development will be built on former industrial land north of Swindon town centre known as the North Star site. The site next to the existing Oasis Leisure Centre was previously occupied by the Great Western Railway Works before it was flattened in 2009.

Backed by Seven Capital, the snow centre will become the fifth designed by the practice.

FaulknerBrowns partner Russ Davenport said: ‘We’ve already seen with our previous snow centres, the positive impact that this kind of leisure destination can have in attracting visitors and investment into an area, as well as offering a fantastic new leisure experience for its residents.’

Completion is expected in 2021.

Architect’s view

The two linear forms of the convergent slopes frame the corner of the site and form a backdrop for a circular rotunda which is set between. The rotunda, which is central to the building’s composition, comprises restaurants with external ‘terraces’ on the ground floor with a multiplex cinema above.

The main building and the rotunda are linked by a dramatic glass atrium, which provides a bright and theatrical entrance space to the complex. In reference to the site’s Great Western Railway heritage, the sweeping roof structure bears similarities with curved Victorian railway stations, such as Bristol Temple Meads, a few stops down the track.

The building’s elevational treatment also draws on railway architecture, the history of the site and local vernacular, with a two-storey brick arched base, which gives the scheme a distinct character and creates a strong coherent framework for shopfronts.

The substantial steel columns that support the snow box are clad in brick to provide vertical subdivision and articulation to the façade. Similarly, the radial steel columns forming the envelope of the rotunda are expressed as a series of vertical brick piers tied at the first floor by a band of brickwork, such that the design draws on the same language but does not mimic the snow box elevations.

Swindon snow complex @faulknerbrowns facade section model 3

Swindon snow complex @faulknerbrowns facade section model 3

Source: FaulknerBrowns

Section model

Project data

Location Swindon, UK
Type of project Indoor ‘real’ snow centre, leisure and retail
Client SevenCapital
Architect FaulknerBrowns Architects
Landscape architect HLM Architects
Planning consultant WYG
Structural engineer Patrick Parsons
M&E consultant MTT Consultants
Quantity surveyor Taylor Associates
Planning supervisor FaulknerBrowns Architects
Tender date Spring 2019
Start on site date Spring 2019
Completion date Early 2021
Gross internal floor area 41,050m²
Form of contract Two-stage Design and Build

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