UK Construction Week

It’s only 1 week until UK construction week opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham 6 -8 October.

The Timber Focus seminars, will feature stunning case study examples of timber use across the UK, including the swimming pool building at Alfriston School – a Structural Award Winner at the Wood Awards 2014 and MIPIM AR Future Projects Award Winner 2014.

Alfriston School caters for 120 girls with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities. Its new swimming pool building, designed by Duggan Morris Architects, is enclosed by a beautiful multi-faceted timber structure, its innovative shape a direct yet imaginative response to the requirements of the brief.

The new building with its 16.5 metre long pool is linked to the existing gym, connecting it back to the main buildings; it extends on a sloping site into the school playing field area. Poised on a series of steel columns, three pitched and tapered roofs span the entire pool and turn down at the edges in a series of fractured triangular gables, like a complex origami ‘hat’. This dramatic and innovative form was designed as a contemporary expression of the local pitched roof vernacular, linking it to the traditional school buildings alongside. Timber was the logical and most economical choice for the structure of the new pool for its qualities of natural sound absorption and its ability to cope with the humid and aggressive atmosphere of a pool environment. It was also the ideal material for off-site prefabrication of the structure.

The twelve roof panels, twelve wall panels and two gable panels were all prefabricated and manufactured offsite. Each panel consists of an internally visible frame; glulam beams at all the edges with a series of intermediate Scandinavian whitewood rafters between, were glued and screwed to a top covering of 21mm thick cross-laminated timber to create a composite stressed skin panel. This panel system allowed the creation of large, clear spans with economically sized components.

The entire pool roof and perimeter walls are clad in the same timber boards, with precise spacing and alignment. The timber boards, Platowood heat-treated Fraké African hardwood, are fixed to battens with 10mm spaces between; this dimension is crisply maintained across the sloping and vertical folding plates of the roof and the gables. The entire assembly of the frame took place over an eight week period.

You will be able to hear lots more about Alfriston Swimming Pool and why it has been a Structural Award Winner at the Wood Awards 2014 and MIPIM AR Future Projects Award Winner 2014 from Andrew Downey, Partner, Elliott Wood Engineers at 13.00.

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