St Sidwell’s Point, Exeter City Council

St Sidwell’s Point was commissioned by Exeter City Council and designed by S&P Architects integrated design team and is the UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre. The £42M four-floor centre is located in Exeter city centre and accommodates three swimming pools, a 100 seat spectator area, three studios, a fitness gym, a large premium health and beauty spa (GAIA Spa), a crèche and a café, together with an external landscaped terrace on the upper floor overlooking the city. The leisure centre aims to provide a 50% energy reduction in comparison to a conventional leisure centre design of similar size and will assist the local authority in moving towards their Net Zero target.

Project brief: S&P Architects (www.space-place.com) commissioned WBM as their acoustic consultants to the design team, providing professional acoustic input from the initial planning stages, through a detailed design process and to provide further acoustic advice on specific acoustic aspects of the project during the construction phase, which started in 2019.
WBM were also commissioned to advise on the acoustics of the new Exeter Bus Station as part of the wider redevelopment of the current bus station site, greatly improving access links to the new leisure facilities.

Acoustic aspects: This complex and novel 4-storey building accommodates a wide variety of spaces each with specific acoustic requirements. High noise areas such as the swimming pools, fitness gym and studios (that can be both high noise and quiet zones) sit next to areas that are quieter zones for health and relaxation.
With the added factor of significant plant operating 24/7, the project was both acoustically diverse and interesting, presenting challenges in terms of acoustics and Passivhaus requirements.

Outcome: WBM worked closely with S&P architects, their partners Gale & Snowden and the wider design team, to deliver successful planning outcomes in respect of both plant noise and activity noise from the development. WBM’s input helped establish effective acoustic solutions for facades, internal sound transmission and high quality internal acoustics appropriate for a multi-functional sports and leisure building, having a strong focus on energy saving.

The building opened to the public in April 2022 providing Exeter with a state-of the-art leisure facility built to ultra-energy saving Passivhaus standards. See Exeterleisure

All images courtesy of S&P.

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