Box Architects and the Olympian-led ReCreation Group are using modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver affordable and sustainable pools to get more people swimming.
Box and ReCreation pledged to build on the legacy of Team GB’s gold rush in the pool in Tokyo. Britain’s swimmers won eight medals last week, including double golds for Adam Peaty, Tom Dean and James Guy and a record four medals in a single games for Duncan Scott. However, the success came as the UK experienced its worst ever month for lake and river drownings.
Meanwhile, new research from Sport England revealed that one in three children in England still can’t swim, a figure which rises to 59% among least affluent families, compared to 16% among the most affluent. This fact is exacerbated by the problem that post-lockdown it is expected that many existing pools will not reopen, being outdated and too expensive to maintain.
Tackling this challenge, Box Architects has been embracing the efficiencies of MMC to work in partnership with the ReCreation Group to deliver a concept that creates much-needed swimming pools. Its legacy was born out of London 2012, when ReCreation founders and Olympic swimmers Steve Parry and Adrian Turner toured the UK with temporary pools from the athletes’ village to teach children to swim. Since then, they’ve been creating their own swimming facilities as well as affordable pools for local authorities.
Graham Place, CEO of Box Architects, said: “It’s an exciting journey. We’ve used our specialist MMC design skills to create a modular approach that can be adapted and repeated. As a practice, we’re committed to developing MMC thinking and promoting our healthy practice approach, so our collaboration with ReCreation couldn’t be better.”
The MMC approach means a much quicker design, development and construction process with projects manufactured off-site. Building above ground also means that maintenance is much easier with no underground pipework, while environmental sustainability benefits come from input to community district heating systems. Projects now extend to community pools, a gymnastics project with fellow Olympian Beth Tweddle and also leisure centre projects for local authorities, all using modern methods of design and construction.
“We wanted to develop an entire pool facility above-ground, which would be faster and more affordable to build,” said Adrian Turner, Olympian and co-founder at ReCreation. “We knew that making such a pool a reality would unlock our mission of breaking down the barriers for kids to reach their true potential. Working together with Box Architects we’ve designed a solution that hits the speed and affordability goals, realises social and economic benefits and creates a destination that the community are proud of,” Turner said.
Box and ReCreation’s work couldn’t have come at a better time, with Swim England’s recent Value of Swimming report highlighting that 1.4 million swimmers show reduced anxiety, and two million young swimmers ‘feel happier’.
“We’re proud to be working with ReCreation to deliver affordable and sustainable pools to get more people swimming,” said Graham Place. “By doing so, we’re helping to save lives, increase wellbeing and produce Olympic champions of the future.”