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Award winning architecture practice AHR has designed Hough End Leisure Centre in South Manchester. Since opening in June, the leisure centre has seen record attendance levels – 1700 members signed up on the launch of the leisure centre and membership currently stands at 4300. Public swimming lessons are at capacity as well as over 600 school swimmers registered. Situated off the busy Princess Road, Hough End Leisure Centre acts as a gateway to the large playing fields which it sits adjacent to.
This £9.2m state-of-the-art centre includes a 25m six lane swimming pool which is accompanied by a 17m learner pool, two squash courts, 100 station fitness gym, steam room / sauna and a multi-purpose community space (also housing a dance studio).
The orientation of the building played an important part in the design of the leisure centre. AHR wanted to make the most of the natural vista out towards the playing fields to maximise the park land, ensuring the building was fitted with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the green fields. On the adjacent side of the building, the fitness studio faces a busier pedestrianised area of the town – creating links to the local areas.
The elevations were designed to advertise the internal functions of the building. The first floor is conceived as a lightweight metal and glass pod, clearly visible from the main road. Similarly the dance studio looks out at the playing field from its elevated position.
The façade of bronze-toned rain-screen cladding provides the impression of a natural and robust material next to the green landscape of the playing fields. Proposed tree planting was implemented to help improve the sustainability of the site and help define different routes to the centre. The building itself scored a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’.
The leisure centre was commissioned as part of a £27 million scheme by Manchester City Council to renew leisure facilities across Manchester. AHR were chosen by the council to design all three of the leisure centres which also included facilities in Beswick and Levenshulme.
AHR recently completed the Huddersfield Leisure Centre which also proved to be a hit with locals and had 165,000 visitors in the first two months.
Dan Barnes, Regional Director at AHR, said:
We’re delighted with the response that Hough End Leisure Centre has received. We designed the building to fit in the surroundings of the playing fields and Princess Road, we wanted the public to be drawn to the site and gain easy access to the building.
Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council, said:
A great deal of hard working and planning went into creation of the new leisure centre at Hough End and I am proud that along with our partners, including AHR, we’ve been able to bring a brand new leisure centre to south Manchester.
“The complex boasts state-of-the art facilities and the quality of the centre has been reflected by its popularity with local residents.
“I’m sure Hough End will be well-loved and well-used for years to come and it is a fantastic addition to Manchester’s enviable sport facilities.