Insight into how Berwick's new leisure centre was designed

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The company that designed the state-of-the-art leisure facilities that opened in Berwick earlier this year has described how the local community was an important factor.

The £22.6million centre, managed by Active Northumberland and located on the site next to the current leisure centre in Tweedmouth, is being built in phases and phase one includes a new swimming pool, indoor bowling green, the Hive café, new fitness equipment, soft play and the Tranquillity Spa.

Work on the second phase has now begun – replacing the existing pool hall on the site with a new four-court sports hall, as well as completing car parking and landscaping.

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GT3 Architects, which has studios in Newcastle and Nottingham, has acted as lead designer on the leisure centre, covering both the interior and exterior architecture to deliver the complex project.

The new leisure centre in Tweedmouth was designed by GT3 Architects.The new leisure centre in Tweedmouth was designed by GT3 Architects.
The new leisure centre in Tweedmouth was designed by GT3 Architects.

It has now opened up about its part in the development.

Paul Reed, associate director at GT3, said: “From the very beginning, this project has had a true community feel and it was vital that the design was rooted in the local area.

“We wanted to create something that was visually striking and took strong cues from its surroundings, such as the Royal Border Bridge and the town’s ancient walls.

“We replicated the elevational rhythm of the bridges, but broke it down into individual forms to create a dynamic image with mixes of glass and green-wall.

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“The local colour palette evokes rich warm tones in its hues, which led us to create the dynamic stainless steel shingle façade. It shimmers gold and purple depending on the light, linking to the local architecture, as well as creating a beacon to local residents and tourists alike.

Berwick is a fairly isolated town so it was important that leisure provisions were always available through a seamless transition from old to new.

“The health and well-being of residents remained a central part of the project, balanced with building an attractive tourism offer to boost the local economy.

“Designing a facility that covers the needs of both local residents and the town’s tourists has provided an interesting challenge, but by working closely with Active Northumberland, we have been able to ensure that the design covers the requirements of the differing user types.”