City Centre sites provide an additional challenge in terms of their design and indeed their construction. Space is at a premium and more than ever every opportunity needs to be maximised. In this rather unusual scheme an underground power station in central London became the site for a leisure centre.
Located in Russell Square, Central London, the site is readily identified by its tall chimney within the square. The chimney was for the below-ground oil fired power station that provided heat, not only for the adjoining hotel but also the nearby council–owned Brunswick Centre (an architectural landmark in its own right incorporating a ‘district’ heating scheme).
To free up the space occupied by this large heating system, the scheme involved removing the three enormous burning chambers and a huge oil reservoir (the size of a swimming pool!), replacing them with a gas fired boiler that would occupy around a tenth of the area. This then freed up the space for a leisure facility to be created in the newly opened up underground site.
The scheme incorporates a swimming pool and gym and is accessed by a new lift and stair tower from the pavement level. The scheme was eventually constructed and operated by David Lloyd Leisure and is an example of a creative re–use of a redundant facility in the heart of the City.
Russell Square, Central London
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