Swimming pool

Swimming pool

An elegant wave-like timber roof soars over this new swimming pool, reflecting the shape of water in motion.

An elegant wave-like timber roof soars over this new swimming pool, reflecting the shape of water in motion. The pool is glazed on three sides and the timber elements of the roof – curved glulam beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) roof panels – are finished with a pale tone which co-ordinates with other materials, creating a sense of tranquillity which is enhanced by views of green lawns and gardens through the glazed walls.

The swimming pool is part of a group of new and remodelled buildings, designed by David Morley Architects, which consolidates the sports activities of King’s College School, a private day school in Wimbledon, southwest London. The aim was to design a new sports complex with strong visual connections between the indoors and outdoors to encourage students to enjoy physical activities while seamlessly tying the old sports facilities to the new.

The site lies within the West Wimbledon Conservation Area and is bordered by listed buildings. The existing sports hall and squash courts occupy the north end of the site and face a garden court, now newly landscaped. The new building connects to the south wall of the squash courts and extends across the site to form an enclosure to the garden. An elegant colonnaded lobby runs at the side of the squash courts to link the existing buildings to the new one and form a single, holistic complex.

The new building integrates three separate functions – sports hall, changing rooms and pool – into a single unit. The central element is a two-storey pavilion housing the reception, changing rooms, viewing galleries, strength and conditioning suite, gym and exercise studio. It gives access to the brick-clad sixcourt sports hall on its west side and to the six-lane, 25 metre swimming pool on the east. The first floor of the central pavilion is fitted with galleries on each side so that students can view activities in the sports hall and swimming pool.

Its roof is of pre-weathered zinc which extends as a tapered eaves edge to the swimming pool roof, sweeping down in an elegant curve to follow the shape of the supporting glulam roof structure while acting as a border to the insulated green roof, planted with varieties of sedum. The roof shape is emphasised by glazed walls on three sides, giving swimmers in the pool a glimpse of lawns and gardens, while from the outside pool activities are visible to students walking past on their way to the new sports facilities or the school playing fields.

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