Eastleigh’s state-of-the-art leisure centre has scooped another award.
Places Leisure Eastleigh, which was developed by the Borough Council as its flagship for promoting wellbeing and healthier lifestyles, has received the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) South Regional Award for the quality of its design. AHR Architects Ltd were praised for creating “an open, inclusive space truly loved by its users” in the awards citation.
Last year the building, which opened in November 2017 as a replacement for Fleming Park Leisure Centre, was recognised for three awards: for the benefit it brings to the Borough’s communities, for the excellence of its engineering, and as the region’s best large local authority commercial project.
AHR’s aim was to create a design that would provide exceptional levels of daylight and openness unusual for this type of building. The RIBA judges said: “The architect has cleverly transformed the typical leisure centre model … From the entrance there is a spectacular view through to the café and swimming pools. Thoughtful analysis has gone into maximising natural light to the rehabilitation rooms for patients being reintroduced to fitness activities… Grant funding from Sport England meant the project had to be delivered so that the capital cost would be repaid over the building’s lifetime. Within the parameters, the architect has created something impressive.”
Eastleigh Borough Council Leader, Councillor Keith House, said: “The latest award for Places Leisure Eastleigh reflects the excellent feedback the Council and centre operators, Places for People Leisure, have received from users of the venue in its first 18 months. It was clear that AHR were absolutely the right choice as architects and we congratulate them and the wider project team on the further recognition the centre has received. It has already made a huge contribution to our aim of promoting a healthy borough and is a great source of local pride.
The £28 million health and fitness venue off Passfield Avenue, is built to a very high specification and offers an eight-lane, 25-metre main swimming pool (an increase from six lanes at the previous centre); a larger learner pool with an adjustable depth that makes it accessible for a range of users; one of the largest sports halls in the South, as well as a huge fitness suite, studios, squash courts, soft play facilities and a café that opens up onto Fleming Park.
The centre is home to Healthworks, which promotes wellbeing and healthier lifestyles, one of the Council’s core priorities. Its inclusive, sustainable design and facilities aim to encourage an increase in physical activity, and tackle wider issues of mental health, social isolation and community cohesion.
The Places Leisure Eastleigh development project was led by the Borough Council and co-funded by Sport England, who contributed £2 million to the scheme and England Netball. The Council’s partners in the build, in addition to AHR, were Interserve Construction Ltd and Arup.