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Hawkins\Brown, Freemen’s School Pool, Jack Hobhouse

Swimming in the midst of nature: Swimming pool by Hawkins\Brown in Surrey

The school swimming pool by Hawkins\Brown Architects has been given one of the 2018 RIBA National Awards for the best buildings completed in the past twelve months.  The building, which contains a 25-metre-long, six-lane pool and an events space, has been erected in replacement of the school's original pool hall, destroyed by a fire in 2014. In the process it was also relocated to a new site close to the existing sports facilities at the east of the school campus.

The timber structure inside the pool hall stands out in particular, while the pool itself is lowered to provide unimpeded views of the outdoors as far as possible, with wrap-around glazing permitting direct views from the water onto the surrounding woodland.  Hawkins\Brown had all wooden surfaces treated with a white stain to provide the material as natural an appearance as possible in relation to the listed landscape that surrounds the school.

On-site assembly of the pre-fabricated, glue-laminated timber frame elements took just over three weeks.  The choice of construction method made it possible to plan and construct the swimming pool building within just a year.

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