Sector - Sports, Culture & Leisure

Construction Complete at First All Timber Building

BAM are pleased to announce that construction has completed on the brand-new King’s Cross Sports hall, a community sports centre and gym, located at the North East edge of the 67-acre King’s Cross Development.

The building, which was designed by Bennetts Associates along with engineering firm Arup, features an indoor sports hall as well as a health and fitness suite over two levels. The sports hall has been built to Sport England standards and can be used as either four badminton courts, a basketball court, a volleyball court, or a five-a-side football pitch. The building is to be operated by Camden Council, with the gym being managed by Better Gyms.

The Sports Hall, built by BAM, is primarily constructed using a cross laminated timber (CLT) frame and glulam timber columns, a neutral alternative to steel and concrete that is both lightweight and carbon friendly. Its has been clad in zinc and has a super-lightweight concrete substructure which runs perpendicular to the tunnels of the underground to prevent concentrated loads.

It was also designed to meet a near-zero carbon target, with several innovative features being incorporated into the design. The building’s sustainability credentials are further bolstered by the fact it was designed to have multiple lives. When it opens, the gym and fitness suite on the upper floor will be open to the public, however for a time the sports hall will be the home of the Construction Skills Centre. This is a temporary fixture until the skills centre moves to their new home in Euston, at which point the sports hall will open to the public.

Project Manager, Christian Clues, BAM noted: ‘Q2 posed some unusual challenges. It sat over three Victorian brickwork live Network Rail tunnels serving King’s Cross Station. This required very precise tunnel monitoring; our careful methodologies avoided any complications. The technical tunnel works were conducted with painstaking care and attention to detail. We conducted extensive tests on the bespoke concrete mix to ensure it wasn’t too heavy. This regime affected batching plant operations, and meant independent testing on site, and re-weighing before a pour commenced. The timber also had its technical aspects, CLT’s moisture retaining properties making it hard to dry. We came up with a vented design solution where we could install the roofing membrane and allow air/moisture to escape so the timber dried out. This worked very successfully. We managed to bring the scheme in despite the start of the UK lockdown and I’m delighted to say the finished building looks impressive.’

Will Colthorpe, Partner, King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership comments: ‘We are thrilled that the Sports Hall has now completed, adding a further piece to the King’s Cross jigsaw. Our development activity is now largely focused at the northern end of the site and we’re extremely pleased with how it is all coming together and offering residents, workers and visitors a wide range of amenities. The Sports Hall will be a fantastic asset for the local community, and we look forward to opening the gym later this year.’

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