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Fitness Suite & Changing Accommodation, Tiverton

Client: Blundell’s School
Area: 750 m²
Stage: Pre-Construction
Building costs: circa £1.5m
Description: Extension to Sports Hall

This proposal is for the refurbishment of the School’s existing Sports Hall and the construction of an extension to the building providing ancillary accommodation to support the broad range of sporting activities carried out both within the Sports Hall and on the adjacent all-weather pitches and courts. Its core use is to provide changing and ablutionary facilities for both participants and spectators. The development is to be carried-out as 2 separate phases over a planned period.

One of the main drawbacks of the existing Sports Hall is its unsympathetic scale and bulky appearance. The provision of the new extension which wraps around two sides of the building offers an opportunity to improve this situation. The accommodation is intended to be as flexible as possible. The changing rooms will be large enough for 24 players, i.e. 2 hockey teams, including reserves and therefore each facility can accommodate two same-gender teams at the same time. In addition, the scheme offers further accommodation which supports and enhances the use of the sporting areas. This includes a viewing gallery overlooking the sports hall, much-needed sports equipment stores and notably, a modern Fitness Suite.

The new structure is purposely of a more human scale and this character is underlined by its generously overhanging signature roofline which swoops down to a sequence of lower levels at various points within the complex, thus drawing the eye away from the large bulk which stands beyond. The interior of the building comprises spaces and volumes of varying scales and this will give interest and dynamism to the facility. The use of double-height, galleried entrance areas and tall circulation spaces will also contribute in this respect and give opportunities for extensive views out across the sports pitches. The Fitness Suite on the first floor is clearly identified as a distinct separate-use element of a non-introverted character, through the use of a clad overhanging facade and a generous amount of fenestration including high-level north lighting.

The use of a profiled steel or aluminium roof finish seems appropriate in that this material is already featured on the existing Sports Hall. The elevations will be generally of smooth-rendered white masonry with the exposed upper parts clad in metal panelling or its Sarnafil equivalent. The selection of materials provides a link with the existing building in order to tie the two together whilst the introduction of different finishes reflects the more “sophisticated” character and content of the new accommodation.

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