A design team led by architects Andrew Wright Associates has been announced as the winner of a competition to design a new multi-million pound sports academy and improvements to Central Park in Scunthorpe.
Organised by the RIBA Competitions Office, in association with the Landscape Institute, the competition was promoted on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council in partnership with Yorkshire Forward as part of its Renaissance agenda for Scunthorpe.
The winning design for the sports academy is a series of six 'pods'. These pods hold an eight lane, 25m swimming pool; a learner pool; a six court sports hall/event space; 75 station fitness suite; dance studio; crèche; and climbing column.
The six pods will be covered with heather and grass to complement the surrounding parkland. This is believed to be the first time that this type of construction has been used for a major leisure project in the UK.
Central Park will also benefit. The character of the park will remain but there will be better facilities – including a lake and improved landscape design. The fountain at the centre of the park will remain but it will be enhanced to better fit its new surroundings.
The cost for both projects is around £15m - £13m for the sports academy and £2m for the park.
The winner was chosen following a two stage open competition which in stage one attracted 45 entries. Six were shortlisted and a week-long consultation exercise, with exhibitions across Scunthorpe, was held. The winning design won widespread support from the public during the consultation.
Councillor Liz Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: "This is a massive step forward for the North Lincolnshire sports academy and it demonstrates our commitment to bring about this major project. This will bring leisure in North Lincolnshire into the 21st Century. It is a key council priority and I am delighted that the design for the facility has now been chosen. The significance of this announcement cannot be overestimated.
"It is a perfect answer to those who question the council's commitment to the regeneration of Scunthorpe and the wider appeal of North Lincolnshire.
"The panel that chose the winning design considered the consultation results from the public very carefully. The design chosen represents the people's choice, as well as being the choice of the selection panel.
"We could have taken the safe route and chosen a traditional design. But we must be bold and ambitious – the chosen design reflects our aspirations for the future of Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire."
Barra MacRuari, Head of Renaissance Towns and Cities at Yorkshire Forward, commented: "The Renaissance agenda is about breathing new life into our regional towns and cities, creating spaces that inspire people to live, work and invest.
"The Central Park development in Scunthorpe will bring an exciting, bold and innovative new element to the town whilst also complementing its existing environment – which is exactly what we want to achieve through Renaissance".
Andrew Wright added : "We are delighted to have been selected. We sought to provide a gentle but bold vision of how an important and active facility can work in harmony with its landscape. It is to the credit of the team as a whole that the proposals were preferred by the public in the consultation workshops and exhibitions, by technical officers prior to interview and by the jury after the interview. We look forward to delivering a well founded and spectacular building for Scunthorpe and the region".
Andrew Wright's winning team includes engineers Buro Happold; Landscape Architects Grant Associates; sports specialist S&P Architects; Biodiversity by Design; and QS's Gardiner & Theobald.
The other shortlisted teams were: The Landscape Agency with DSP Architects; Planit EDC with Hot Architecture; DLA Architecture & Urban Design; de Rijke Marsh Morgan with Adams Kara Taylor & Gustafson Porter; and Barker and Coutts with Jestico & Whiles.