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Formby Pool

Formby Pool

Gold Award & Commercial & Public Access Winner 2007

Location: Lancashire
Building Owner: Formby Land Trust
Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley
Builder/Main Contractor: Dew Construction (exterior)
Structural Engineers: Whitbybird and Partners
Joinery: JDM Contracts
Wood Species: Douglas Fir from Canada (CSA certified), English Oak, Kerto-LVL from Finnish Spruce (Finnforest)

A new public swimming pool and park in the centre of Formby contains a 25metre five lane pool, learner pool, fitness suite and café.  The timber framed building is clad in English oak and copper, which will gradually weather and mature with the park that surrounds it. Internally, on the structure and cladding, the wood is from certified sustainable sources.

Sustainability was a key driver for client and architect alike. Environmental issues, our previous experience of pool buildings and a love of timber led us to the principle of an all timber building. Our ambition has been to create a building which demonstrates the remarkable versatility and strength of timber as structure and as cladding.

The building is therefore primarily timber framed with internal block-work and concreted walls providing some structural bracing.  A ‘ploughshare’ copper roof rises towards the deep end supported by LVL bowstring trusses. Those trusses and propped off a concealed timber Pratt Truss 50m long and supported at 10.8m intervals on single timber and steel composite columns. The low side of the roof rests on the plywood diaphragm deck of the low building. The deck is supported on engineered timber I beams which cantilever 2m beyond the glazed east elevation to create an entrance canopy.

The overall effect is of a simple, spectacular timber structure almost floating on slender timber columns reaching out into the surrounding park and allows the café to spill out into a terrace. The building is proving extremely popular with the local community, exceeding all expectations with four thousand visitors in the first week.