#2 Braywick Leisure Centre – Wates and Kovara with Vincent Timber
Located on the edge of Braywick nature reserve, this iconic new project needed to resonate with it's beautiful parkland setting. As a natural product, the Timber cladding on the ground floor level allowed an expansive modern building to blend harmoniously into its surroundings, adding warmth and continuity, echoing the wood effect Brize Soleil on the upper floors.
A Leisure centre is a wellbeing destination for the local community and this needs to be reflected in every aspect of the design process, the choice of materials is fundamental in creating a holistic build, that rests comfortably in its setting and engenders wellbeing.
The cladding utilises a "hit and miss" system in areas where ventilation is required, and cleverly screens industrial plant elements.
Siberian Larch a highly abundant wood species, with larch trees representing 37% of the forests in Russia according to research. Siberian Larch is currently being replanted quicker than it is being harvested, making it a very sustainable choice. Siberian Larch is actually beneficial to the environment. It naturally stores carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and releases it back without surplus; this is why wood is known as a carbon-sequestering building material.
A carefully considered timber-clad system is effective for both heat and sound insulation, trapping in heat and ensuring sound does not escape. Better at retaining heat than concrete, steel, and aluminium, timber cladding is both functionally and aesthetically ideal for Leisure centres where both acoustic insulation and effective energy usage are key design components.
The design of Leisure centres offers a real opportunity to focus on a ‘just transition’ towards inclusive net zero, where reduced energy demand, and a focus on sustainable material selection, develop in parallel with measures to create an equitable society, and inclusive public buildings.