Architect has designed university facility to be naturally lit and ventilated
Arup Associates’ design for a new sports centre for the University of Cambridge has started on site. The £16 million project includes a sports hall and gym, with a new 50m swimming pool and tennis hall to be delivered in future stages when funding is secured.
The site is located on the edge of the university’s planned expansion in West Cambridge, on the boundary between the new campus to the north and the green belt of the Fens to the south.
The building emerges from the surrounding rural landscape with a distinctive domed volume that signifies the main spaces of the complex, whilst presenting a defined face to the urban edge of the campus.
In the process, a habitable park landscape is created on and around the emerging forms. Footpaths across the site connect the campus to the lakeside and the landscape beyond and make this south-facing park a social and public amenity that takes full advantage of its location and proximity to Cambridge.
The main multipurpose hall is naturally lit and ventilated, primarily through the incorporation of mechanically operated, louvered north lights. These north lights emerge from the domed roof and support solar collectors that reduce the energy required to support the building’s requirements for hot water.
The lightweight steel structure comprises a series of vierendeel trusses that frame the northlights, span 38m across the sports hall and extend the full 65m breadth of the building.