Big splash at Freemen’s School with new timber pool

Designed by Hawkins\Brown, it’s a 25m, six-lane competition pool, with changing facilities and a multi-purpose teaching and events space

Freemen’s School’s new pool uses state-of-the-art timber construction and offsite fabrication methods “to create a sustainable building that sits gently within its context”. It replaces the school’s original pool building, which a fire destroyed in 2014. It also relocates it from the west to the east side of the campus, next to the existing sports facilities.

Adam Cossey, Partner at HawkinsBrown, said: “Freemen’s School’s new swimming pool is a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes.

The deep columns of the all-timber construction and wrap around glazing, which afford direct views from the water into the woodland, give the sense of swimming amongst the trees.”

The construction of the pool, given planning permission in 2016, and led by UK construction and fit-out contractor Gilbert-Ash, includes glue-laminated timber (gluam) portal frame, braced with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The use of engineered timber provides a fast, efficient, carbon neutral method of construction that provides both structure and internal finish.

The all-timber construction also has a number of advantages in dealing with the challenges of a pool environment – it is resilient, a thermal insulator and corrosion resistant. On site, the erection of the glulam portal frame and cross- laminated timber walls and roof took just over three weeks. This allowed the detailed design and full construction of the building to be delivered in one year.

Roland Martin, Headmaster of Freemen’s, said: “The School is overwhelmed by the beauty and quality of the new swimming pool – it is a fantastic new asset for our School and local community.”


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