Get Active @ Northfield

In desperate need of an upgrade, the Northfield Swimming Pool had sat unused for seven years until it could receive some much-needed attention and reopen as a community swimming and leisure centre.

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  • Project Size: 1,913 sqm
  • Location: Aberdeen
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Type/Services: Architecture

To bring this dilapidated centre back into use, SPACE provided executive architect services with design development to transform the centre and enhance the facilities in a community with very few alternative leisure opportunities. As part of the complete refurbishment, we replaced all finishes, M&E, and specialist pool plant; reconfigured the changing and shower facilities layouts; created a new gym, multipurpose studio, consultation spaces, dry-changing facilities, and a new and enlarged entrance and circulation areas.


As main consultant for a traditional procurement route, we validated all design information and tendered and appointed sub-consultant roles. Commencing during lockdown, the project faced long lead times for materials and some specialist trades potentially would have had problems travelling large distances. With this in mind, we ensured the design and specification were revised to allow local trades and skills to deliver the project, changing materials where needed to avoid shortages and long or uncertain delivery times. The contract was between clients during the course of the project, and the novation of the project from the original design team created a knock on effect for the statutory approvals. We then purified the outstanding planning conditions, negotiated the way forward with the SER Certification for the project, and participated in the review and appointment of contractors on site. Additionally, we provided interior design review on the implications of options explored by the client. Technical design had to align proposals with Scottish building practices, particularly as they related to the M&E service routes to all spaces.

Although our appointment was on a fixed design and scope the existing building brought its own challenges. The pool hall had to be reroofed due to extensive prior damage and not being water tight, at which time the thermal performance was enhanced in line with current standards. There were also complications with the pool tiling, where replacement tiles sizes did not match the existing sizes. We had to source alternative solutions and replace whole sections of tiling while at the same time still making savings on refurbishment and re-grouting originals.

This was a real achievement for the team, delivering to the client’s budget-driven project brief whilst operating in lockdown conditions to create a facility that will successfully serve the community for years to come.