DB3 Team

Q&A with DB3 Sports & Leisure team - Part 1: The Past & the Present

As part of our DB3 Summer of Sport, where we are putting a spotlight on our expertise in this sector, we did a Q&A with our 12 strong Sports & Leisure team of architects, designers and engineers. We had so many great responses that we have split the article in two parts! In part 1 we’ll focus on the incredible projects and vast experiences of our team and part 2 will be dedicated to innovations, trends and the future of Sports and Leisure, so watch this space!

We have tagged each team member at the end of the blog, where you can find out more about them.

How many years of experience do you have in Sports & Leisure?
Combined our team have an impressive 214 years of Sports and Leisure experience and expertise under their belt!

These are split as follows: Matthew, DB3 Director & Head of Wales – 38 years; Ian, Senior Associate – 34 years; Bob, Senior Associate & Head of Scotland – 23 years; Jon, Head of Sports & Leisure – 22 years; Matt, Head of MEP Building Services – 21 years; Rob, Senior Associate – 18 years; Mike, Senior Associate – 17 years; Dave, Associate – 15 years; Cameron, Part II Architectural Assistant – 15 years; Martyn, Project Architect – 5 years; Roberta, Architectural Assistant – 5 years; George, Architectural Technologist – almost 1 year.

What was your first sports project?

What was your first sports project?

Matthew: It was a new leisure centre in Newport which was completed in 1983 and I spent a year working on it as a Part 1 Architecture student for Newport Council. The project was at construction stage, and I was responsible for completing the roofing and curtain walling packages, which involved frequent site visits and lots of communication with the contractor – it was a brilliant experience! The building is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, which makes me feel a bit old!

Jon: My first sports project was Leyton Leisure Centre in Essex in 1999.
Matt: Craven Leisure Centre – the project was to replace an existing facility which, after 30 years in operation, had reached the end of its useful life. This was done in two phases wet side new build followed by a dry side extension. My role in this sector currently is in Low Carbon Design, Mechanical Building Services, Public Health Design and Pool Filtration. I am directly involved in appraising the use of sustainable and renewable energy solutions in all developments.
Dave: Catterick Leisure Centre for the Ministry of Defence in 2006.
Ian:
Keighley Leisure Centre around 1987 with Bradford Council.
Robert: Settle Cricket Club Pavilion in 2003 and the first wet & dry project I assisted on was Middleton Arena which was also in 2003.
Martyn: I was project architect for the Pewsey Health and Wellbeing Centre in Wiltshire. It was a partial demolition and extension of a swimming pool and sports centre. Starting in 2016, from design to completion I was on the project for over 2 years. The project was coordinated across disciplines through a BIM process.
Mike: Feasibility study for Maghull Leisure centre in 2004.
Cameron: Starting from my first year out of university in 2006, I was involved in the design of a sports campus for the Scottish Football Association.

What does DB3’s involvement with Sport England entail?

What does DB3’s involvement with Sport England entail?

Jon: We have worked with Sport England since 1998 and prior to this were actively involved with the Sport Council for many years. We are on their framework and fulfil the role as Design Advisors and Assessors and have been involved in reviewing hundreds of projects. Our Specialist M&E team are also often consulted on complex technical issues especially relating to pools. We author several of Sport England’s guidance documentation and work on a number of research projects. Currently we are examining the many energy saving measures and solutions that are available and assessing which ones deliver a true benefit to both the environment and to operation efficiency.

What is the quirkiest / stand-out project you have worked on?

What is the quirkiest / stand-out project you have worked on?

Matt: BMX Arena in Manchester – towards the end of my time with Building Services Partnership I was fortunate to be involved with the BMX Arena development for British Cycling. The scheme was the development of a 2,000 seat indoor arena on the East car park of the Manchester Velodrome. The building was also linked to the Velodrome. The new arena housed a 70m by 100m racing track for National BMX competitions with British Cycling administration facilities incorporated into the extension with restaurant, retail and changing facilities.
Ian: The Europa Pool Leisure Centre in Birkenhead was a fun project as it features a six lane 25m pool, as well as wave machines, water jets, spiral water slide flume, slides, fake rocks and palm trees to create the scene. I also make sure I am the first person to try out the slides (once its formally passed health & safety).
Mike: A few spring to mind. Firstly, the development of the Compact Athletics design guide which involved thinking outside normal restrictions and preconceptions. Secondly, the development of Learn to Ride facilities that can be woven into future school and park designs to enable children to enjoy learning to ride a bicycle. As for stand out project it would be St Peters School Pool, York which won a York Design Award, the scheme was located in the grounds of the school that Guy Fawkes attended.
Jon: The most stand-out project I did was probably a swimming pool for the SAS due to its very secretive nature plus the specific requirements it had to meet for its training purposes.
Robert: Due to the significance for me and my career I’d have to say Sun Lane Leisure. Not only was it incredibly well received by the public, it was designed to be an inclusive leisure centre from the outset, including a Changing Places facility and private/segregated pool and changing facilities for minority user groups.
Martyn: No 1 Llys Cadwyn the iconic zinc curved building in Pontypridd which houses Leisure for Life.
Bob: It was the design of the training facilities for the Scottish National Football team. Despite being a brilliant project it sadly stopped in 2008 as a result of the financial crash. A lot of work and research went into the design of what would have been a cutting edge facility. As part of the project we also benchmarked the facilities available to Manchester United, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Blackburn and kicked about with some of the best design ideas.
Dave: Abbey Fields is such a specialist project that we are currently working on due to its location near historic places, requiring the design to be adapted sensitively to its environment.

Which project are you most proud of and why?

Which project are you most proud of and why?

Martyn: The Taff Vale project in Pontypridd where we incorporated a spin suite, a multi-purpose room and a 100 piece gym area in the iconic 1 Llys Cadwyn building. I am also incredibly proud of this whole project as it completely transformed my home town.

Jon: Wentworth Leisure Centre in Hexham is a project I am most proud of as we had a great team and the client was so passionate about this facility. So much care and attention went into every detail of this project right down to choice of bricks. It was fitted out perfectly and the outcome was exactly right and as such the scheme was one of the most successful ones for many years after.
Dave: Helensburgh once it is complete is bound to be a standout project due to its stunning location. The original designs had the pools facing seawards, however half way through the request for it to face townwards was made, to showcase and attract visitors but also give the fitness studio the inspirational sea view.
Ian: It would have to be the Queens Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre in Rugby as this was one of the first projects where I was the lead and fully responsible for making all the key decisions.
Matt: Being involved with the BMX Arena stand outs as a project I am most proud of as it was a different to the typical sport and leisure schemes I had become accustomed to.
Robert: Sun Lane Leisure as it was my first wet & dry leisure centre as a qualified architect where I was project design leader.
Mike: WPD Spilsby because it achieved a BREEAM mark of 102% and gained an Outstanding rating –it proves that it is possible without excessive spending.


What Projects are you working on at the moment?

Robert: Xtrafit Gym, Roar Fitness and David Lloyd portfolio.
Matt: Helensburgh Leisure Centre, Boxing Club refurbishments through Sport England and Multiple Cycle Hub Pavilions across the country.
Ian: Warwick, Wyke and Cornwall.
Roberta: I’m working on the Site Analysis of Leighton Buzzard at the moment.
George: Abbey Fields Leisure Centre, Cornwall Cycle Hub and Moredon Cycle Hub.
Cameron & Bob: We am part of the team delivering the Helensburgh Waterfront Development on the west coast of Scotland which is currently on site. Also doing some feasibility work for a Scottish Football team.

Date Published: 30 July 2021
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DB3 Sports & Leisure

DB3 Sports & Leisure

DB3’s specialist Sport and Leisure team has worked continuously and exclusively on sports and leisure projects for more than 35 years.

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