A state-of-the-art leisure centre in Bristol, featuring extensive use of Technal’s aluminium curtain walling, has received a national award in recognition of its outstanding design and contribution to the local community.


Designed by LA Architects and operated by Parkwood Leisure for Bristol City Council, the £35m Hengrove Park Leisure Centre was built by Kier Construction on the site of a former airport.  The privately financed project is also one of the first centres in the UK with a 50m swimming pool to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.


The architectural design of the scheme features large areas of Technal curtain walling to give the impression of ‘invisible walls’ – allowing unobstructed views from the interior looking out on to the landscaped central plaza, and greater visibility from the outside of the pool and activities inside the centre.  The glazed façades also provide high levels of natural light and a good night time appearance for the building.


The project has now been presented with an award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the Community Benefit category.  More than 600 building projects were entered into the awards, which showcase the most inspirational regional initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the environment. The Community Benefit category rewards schemes that can demonstrate reach across the community.


The Community Benefit Judge, Michael Wyldbore-Smith, said, “The Hengrove Park Leisure Centre demonstrates what can be achieved by careful consultation and planning.  The centre blends well within the campus and is very well used and enjoyed by the local community.  It is a terrific facility.”


Commenting on the curtain walling specification, Manolis Datseris, Project Architect at LA Architects, said, “We have used Technal’s systems on other projects, which we have been very happy with so their products were a logical choice for this scheme.  We wanted to achieve a crisp, sharp edge to the curtain walling here and to create a building that is filled with light.” 


He added, “Our aim was to bring the landscaped plaza inside the centre by having perimeter walls that are almost transparent, giving a greater feeling of space.  We are very happy with the finished effect and the glazing systems are performing well.”


Technal worked closely with LA Architects and specialist fabricator Glassolutions Installation from the earliest design stages to develop the specification for the curtain walling.  The slim 50mm profile of the GEODE-MX Visible Grid system met the architects’ requirements for thin sections which were sufficiently robust to carry the heavy glass units, some of which are laminated and toughened, and span up to 2.75m by 2.2m.                                          


GEODE-MX curtain walling was specified for the three elevations that enclose the double height reception and foyer space, the swimming pools, and the fitness suite where it allows high level views out onto the plaza.  The system has been used to construct an internal glazed screen with impact resistant and acoustic glass between the two swimming pools, and as full height glazing to a recessed space in the building envelope that provides courtyard views from the circulation area, offices and crèche.


The curtain walling was finished in light grey.  It is complemented by Technal’s double pivot commercial doors around the building and FXi65 top hung mechanically actuated casement windows inserted into the GEODE-MX system for natural ventilation.  GEODE-MX sloped glazing was used above the main circulation stairwell to allow light deep into the centre of the building.


The building envelope also features copper cladding in the central plaza and on the north elevation between the main pool and the teaching pool, to striking effect.



The building is the centrepiece of a major regeneration programme to transform South Bristol.  It was also designed to be sustainable, with its use of grey water, reduced flow rates to conserve water, high standards of air tightness throughout, and building materials such as aluminium which have low embodied energy.


Technal’s GEODE-MX curtain walling can be used to create a wide variety of architectural compositions from a single grid system – low to high rise façades, horizontal or vertical emphasis, and ribbon, structural, faceted, beaded and sloped glazing.  GEODE-MX Acoustic for additional noise protection and MX62 for even larger glass sizes are the latest additions to the extensive range of GEODE-MX curtain walling options.                                             


For further information about Technal’s portfolio of commercial aluminium window, door, curtain walling, low rise façade systems and solar shading call 01924 232323.