the main pool is a double-height space and
takes a portion of the floor above, while the
flume zone is a triple-height space intruding
into both the first and second floors.
Accommodated on the available space of
the first floor there is a six-court sports hall,
two spin studios and four squash courts, all
of which are further double-height spaces,
and consequently they eat into the second
So, with less floor space than the levels
below, the second floor only accommodates
a new 250-station gym and changing rooms.
The uppermost level (three) is the roof,
and this has two outdoor five-a-side football
pitches and two tennis/netball courts. These
areas are surrounded by a series of 8m-high
galvanized posts that will support a netting
system to enclose the playing areas and
keep balls from being kicked or hit off the
building’s roof. As well as these outdoor
zones, the fourth floor also contains an
indoor dance and martial arts studio and
further plant rooms.
With so many different sized spaces
within one single structure, a great deal
of vibration analysis was undertaken to
determine the best structural design for the
“Steelwork supporting 400mm-thick
precast flooring planks was chosen as the
best method to dampen any potential
vibration issues between the various areas
of the building,” explains BuroHappold
Engineering Partner Angus Palmer.
“Deflection and dynamics also drove
the size of each steel member as well as the
orientation of the bracings.”
Consequently, there are a number of large
steel elements within the leisure centre’s
frame. The heaviest individual elements
are a series of 20m-long × 1.8m-deep plate
girders, each weighing 23t, that span and
form the main pool area’s column-free
Another series of substantially-sized
beams spans the first-floor sports hall
and squash courts, forming part of the
structure’s roof. The required 27m-long
clear span is created from a series of two
beams, 18m-long and 9m-long, which were
spliced together on-site to form the overall
Helping to absorb the loadings from the
various spaces within the structure are a
couple of large trusses, positioned within
the middle of the building.
The lower of the two trusses is twostoreys
high and positioned at first-floor
level, adjacent to the sports hall. It facilitates
the column-free space of the sports hall and
transfers floor loads over the training pool,
which is directly below.
Measuring 28m-long x 10m-high
and weighing 65t, the truss was erected
piece-small, in individual sections, using
Adjacent to the existing leisure centre, a brandnew
school, known as the London Academy
Shoreditch Park is under construction on
what was the centre’s car park.
The five-storey steel-framed academy will on
completion provide 1,140 secondary and sixth form
places to help meet demand in Hackney.
The steel frame is approximately 30m-wide and
100m-long, and based around three full-height
atriums located along the structure’s length that
provide circulation and break-out space.
Stability is provided by concrete cores positioned
at either end of the building, while a movement
joint splits the structure in half with a double row of
columns positioned midway along the length.
As well as the atrium voids the academy also
features a sports hall located on the first floor,
above some ground floor classrooms. Similar to
the design procedure conducted on the leisure
centre, a vibration analysis was carried out. Similar
to the leisure centre, it was decided that steelwork
supporting precast floor planks would be the best
option for this building as well, in order to dampen
any vibration issues.
The sports hall is a triple-height space, extending
up through the three floors of the school, to the
underside to the fourth floor. Spanning the hall is
a series of 19m-long girders that weigh 6t each. As
well as forming the sports hall’s roof, the girders
also support two outdoor Multi-Use Games Areas
(MUGA) located on the fourth floor.
The academy’s classrooms are predominantly
located along the northern elevation and are
formed with a regimented column grid pattern with
perimeter columns spaced at 3m centres.
In order to maximise the available floor-to-ceiling
heights in the classrooms and corridors, a series of
bespoke trusses that accommodate all the services
has been fabricated and installed by Severfield. The
trusses are generally 10m-long × 1.4m-deep and
weigh 10t each.
The academy is due to open in time for the
autumn term of 2021.
Cut-out image showing
how the leisure centre
stacks up. In the picture
are the main pool and
the flume zone.