Hengrove Leisure Centre, Bristol

Client:   Bristol City Council and Parkwood Leisure
Architect:  LA Architects
Main contractor: Kier Construction
Fabricator: Glassolutions Installation
Products: Geode-MX62 Curtain Walling - Pivot Commercial Doors - FXi65 top hung actuated casement windows


A new state-of-the-art leisure centre in Bristol designed by LA Architects features extensive use of Technal’s aluminium curtain walling to help create a vibrant new facility and encourage more local people to participate in sport and physical activity. 


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 £35m Hengrove Park Leisure Centre was built on the site of a former airport. Its facilities include a 10-lane, 50m international-standard swimming pool, a 20m teaching pool, sports hall, a dedicated spin studio, climbing wall, a 150-station fitness gym, two group exercise studios, a healthy living centre, sauna, steam room, café and crèche.

‘Invisible’ Walls


The architectural design of the scheme features large areas of 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.

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.

The Architect’s Perspective


Manolis Datseris, Project Architect, LA Architects:

“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.  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.”

Internal and External Glazed Screens


The 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 our double pivot commercial doors around the building and FXi65 top hung 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 Centrepiece of a Major Programme of Regeneration


Hengrove Park 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. The building is set to make a significant contribution to the quality of sports facilities in the area and will be a sub-regional centre of excellence.

A Wide Variety of Architectural Compositions

The 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.

Images: Liz Eve/Fotohaus