Broadway Malyan’s new breed community centre opened by Chris Boardman MBE / by rachel

The £21m Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan for contractor Balfour Beatty Construction, has been officially opened by former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman MBE, in Knowsley, UK. The state-of-the-art Park, which features world-class facilities including two 25 metre long swimming pools with capacity for 300 spectators, a gym, six court sports hall and spa, as well as performance, events and conference facilities capable of hosting 900 people, was funded by Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, which will also operate the complex.

Included in the scheme is ‘OurPlace’, a Big Lottery-funded My Place Youth Club, with the design and construction the result of a close collaboration between the practice’s design team and Knowsley Youth Forum. It will provide a new space for 13-19 year olds to meet and take part in a range of activities using new external sports facilities which include a skate park, media suite, dance studio and training kitchen with café.

Practice director Matt Brook said: “The official opening is the final milestone in this major scheme and is testament to our Liverpool-based design experts working in close partnership with the client. The finished result represents a new breed of mixed-use public building through the consolidation of circulation space into one central, naturally day-lit atrium, from which all facilities can be viewed and accessed. This also doubles up as a social and event space and increases passive surveillance within the building to create a safer and more secure environment.”

The external profiled roofscapes of the main Park building and that of the smaller Club have been designed to respond to the surrounding landscape and internal uses and they combine to create a clear public entrance featuring a dynamic LED feature wall.

The Club has been designed with its own identity and street frontage and is of a scale and rhythm to mediate the scale of the main building down to that of the wider residential streetscape.

Sustainable features include a renewable energy generation through a biomass pellet boiler, resulting in the scheme being rated ‘BREEAM Very Good’.