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Eton Sports and Aquatics is the latest project in the practice’s long collaboration with the College.
A brand new, high-performance facility is set in a historic, landscaped setting to create a grounded building that feels part of Eton’s rich traditions of craftsmanship, and is also an enjoyable, accessible space to use.
A 25m, 8-lane indoor pool replaces a dilapidated outdoor pool and features an adjustable floor which can be set at the 2m depth required for competitive swimming or at 1-1.2m to support learners. A 4-court multi-purpose sports hall provides indoor space for badminton, basketball, five-a-side football, volleyball, gymnastics, and can adapt to become a 200-seat examination hall.
Anticipating use by a range of groups, local schools and wider community, the layout allows for both public and private use with two sets of fully accessible changing rooms located at ground level - ‘team’ style changing for Eton and ‘cubicle’ changing for the public - which can be accessed separately without compromising safeguarding. A high-spec mechanism to facilitates access to the pool for those with particular physical needs, and a lift provides access from ground level to the viewing balconies at mezzanine level. Acoustic screening around the pool means that upstairs spaces can also be used for teaching and study.
Designed as a playful arrangement of open and closed volumes, the building is approached through a walled and landscaped courtyard. A double-height arrival space leads either up to the sports spectator space, down to the sports hall, or into the changing areas.
The pool hall features a simple palette of brick and timber, in keeping with the finely crafted buildings across the campus, and provides a clear expression of the large glulam structure used to span the hall. A simple massing expresses the pool and sports hall as two distinct volumes, both of which have flat roofs and minimum internal clearances to ensure that they sit within the landscape and below the treeline.