Swimming in success

UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, has completed the Freemen’s School project in Ashtead, Surrey, which included an engineered timber swimming pool.


UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, has completed the Freemen’s School project in Ashtead, Surrey, which included an engineered timber swimming pool.

Replacing the school’s original pool building which was lost to fire in 2014, the project provides a purpose-built 25m, six lane competition pool with changing facilities and a multi-functional teaching and events space.

Working closely with architects HawkinsBrown, the sustainable swimming pool used state-of-the-art timber construction, a zinc wrap and offsite fabrication methods, while the material palette complements the external setting creating a special environment for swimming.

The construction of the pool includes a glue-laminated timber (glulam) portal frame, braced with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The use of engineered timber provides a fast, efficient, carbon neutral method of construction and ensures the pool is resilient, a thermal insulator and corrosion resistant.

To minimise its impact on the school’s Grade II listed landscape, the swimming pool’s lower ground floor is partially submerged. This submerges the structure into the surrounding scenery and preserves a large number of the existing trees. The highest point of the gently pitched zinc wrap roof marks the main entrance of the building.