FaulknerBrowns Architects has submitted plans for a new £36.7 million leisure centre in Coventry
Housing a 25m swimming pool and a water park with six slides, a wave pool, toddlers’ splash area and a lazy river, the building will replace an existing council office block on a tightly constrained site next to the city’s Grade II*-listed Christchurch Spire.
The scheme, which is described as a 50m-diameter metal-clad drum, will also spell the end for the city’s existing central swimming pool on Fairfax Street. The Grade II-listed 1966 building features a Harry Noble-designed 1970s extension – in the shape of the city’s elephant emblem – will close once the ‘iconic’ new structure opens.
FaulknerBrowns saw off competition from Wilkinson Eyre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, AL_A, Reiach and Hall Architects and IDOM to win the job last summer.
Michael Hall, partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects, said: ‘The decision by Coventry Council to procure a water park right in the heart of its city centre is a bold one and we are delighted to be able to support this forward thinking vision.
‘As a building typology, there have been few good examples and little by way of innovation of the water park in the last 20 years. This is particularly the case in the public sector, where these facilities seem to have been largely overlooked from a health and wellbeing perspective, with a stronger emphasis on lane swimming and therefore community pools’.
He added: ‘Those that have been built tend to be located on ‘edge of town’ retail parks with the emphasis on access by car as opposed to the public transport network. Their appearances are characterised by vast external tentacles of fibreglass to entice visitors with the promise of fun.
‘This project comes at a time when the government’s ‘Sporting Futures’ strategy is intended to drive a more holistic and incidental view of health and fitness, which incorporates a wider variety of activities to promote participation.
‘Creating a more elegant leisure destination in the heart of the city centre which offers an action packed water experience, will help Coventry to meet these objectives and provide residents and visitors with a world class facility to enjoy for many years to come.’
Construction of the new leisure centre is expected to start in 2017.
Coventry Water Park by FaulknerBrowns Architects