COACH, or the Centre for Outdoor Activity and Community Hub, is the exciting result of a vision to provide access for youth, sport, education and community in the heart of Taunton. SWH Build was appointed to build the brand new leisure facility, incorporating:
- A café with outdoor seating
- Canoeing and cycling facilities
- A boat and equipment store
- Meeting spaces
- Toilet facilities
The facility was built in the place of an existing toilet block. The location of the site, on the banks of the River Tone, presented the challenge of building on a flood plain and having to gain Environmental Agency consent by having an elevated ground floor. The solution is both functional and creative: on the ground floor the centre has a rowing, kayaking, canoeing and bike store. There are also public accessible toilets, changing rooms, kitchen and a raised community café. The first floor hosts a large youth space/meeting room, an office, toilets, storage space.
The building had to be piled as it was so close to the river. The building was then constructed as a steel frame sitting on top of a ring beam linking the piles. The main accommodation was then enclosed with a lightweight metal frame infill and wrapped externally with a highly insulated jacket. The building was then clad with a rain screen cladding comprising a timber substitute known as Millboard. The building has high thermal mass due to its concrete floors and it is heated by low temperature underfloor heating linked to a small and efficient gas boiler.
The COACH project was founded on the basis of the public and private demand for this building in this location and the project’s success is perhaps best demonstrated by the number of users wanting to use the building and the frequency of use which approaches 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The project involved true collaborative working to deliver this building in an awkward location next to the River Tone and in the middle of a public park. It was an ambitious project with very tight budgetary constraints and this put huge demands on the entire team.
This has however been an example of true teamwork and involved a good deal of input from both SWH and their sub contractors to deliver a high quality facility that we hope will be used to its full potential.
Jonathan Scanlan, Director, Reed Holland Architects
This project won Best Public Service Building, Best Educational Building and Best Commercial Building at the LABC Awards 2017.