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FaulknerBrowns reveals proposals for Swindon ski centre

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AJ100 practice FaulknerBrowns has lodged plans for a new 2,000m² indoor ski centre in Swindon

Featuring two snow slopes, the centre is part of a wider application submitted to Swindon Borough Council for a major new leisure destination, which includes shops, bars, a 12-screen cinema with the largest IMAX screen in the UK, a bowling alley, an indoor trampolining centre and a 130-room hotel.

The 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.

If approved, the snow centre will become the fifth designed by the practice.

The project is backed by Seven Capital.

Architect’s view

The two linear forms of the convergent slopes frame the corner of the site and form a back drop 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. 

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