New school swimming facility constructed from engineered timber to complement the building’s woodland setting.

Structural Timber Awards Education Project of the Year 2018
RIBA National Award 2018
RIBA South East Award 2018
RIBA South East Sustainability Award 2018
RIBA South East Client of the Year Award 2018
Wood Awards Education Award 2018 – Highly Commended
Wood Awards Structural Award 2018 – Highly Commended



Eckersley O’Callaghan provided structural engineering services for a new swimming pool for City of London Freemen’s School, replacing the original pool, which was destroyed by a fire in 2014. This new six-lane, 25-metre competition pool is surrounded by woods and parkland and the school’s Grade II* listed Main House. The scheme also includes changing facilities, an annex, and energy centre.

The design involved the development of an envelope of cross-laminated timber, with minimal structural steel inserts, supported by long-spanning portal frames in glulam timber, which are gradually skewed along the length of the building. The project utilises the very latest in energy-efficient ventilation systems hidden below the pool structure to service the building.

Finished to a very high standard, the engineered wood has been left exposed internally and treated with a white stain, leaving the grain visible. This natural finish allows the building to complement its natural setting, and provides thermal insulation and corrosion resistance.

The site is located in an area of chalk which is liable to corrosion over time – we engineered a foundation solution to minimise this risk while carrying the weight of the superstructure. We were also responsible for the detailed design of all reinforced concrete and steel elements.

A complex geometrical layout demanded that we employ the latest 3D BIM tools to model these forms throughout the close coordination process with the design team. This BIM model was later used by the contractors for developing construction information.

Prefabricated off-site, the structure was assembled on-site in just over three weeks. From detailed design to completion, the project took only one year.

Ashstead, UK

City of London Freemen’s School