The £40 million University Residential Training and Conference Centre for the University of Leicester was designed to provide 200 guest bedrooms, a 150 seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, bar, social and breakout spaces, restaurant, swimming pool, sports hall and gym, and to use low energy technologies including solar thermal tubes, high thermal mass, high levels of daylight, green and brown roofs, sustainable urban drainage, passive ventilation, combined heat and power, bio mass boilers and promote greener means of travel. The project, in a conservation area, sought to integrate new buildings and landscape with existing buildings and mature trees.
The £8m Sports Centre provided a 25m pool, designed for 5 year olds upwards and large enough to hold aqua aerobics and swim meetings, and was based on Sport England standards and developed in consultation with the University’s Director of Sports. Sited next to a conservation area, the building’s proportions, massing, materials and impact on local strategic views were carefully considered, and the sloping green roof sought to integrate the Sports Centre and the landscape. The plan was arranged as three volumes with the swimming pool hall to the north, the sports hall to the south and reception, changing facilities and ancillary spaces in the centre. The pool and sports hall were single volumes and the pool received north light from above. The central volume was split into three floors with café and activity room on the first and an open plan gym on the second, which benefited from external views and natural light, maintaining connections with the outdoors.
Both buildings sought to achieve a high level of sustainability, through conservation of energy and water, the use of natural light, natural ventilation and sustainable materials, and to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’.