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Northampton School for Boys, Edward Cripps Performance Centre

Construction value:


Design team:


Northampton School for Boys


PHP Architects

Structural Engineer: 


Pool Specialist: 

Devin Design Consultants

M & E Consultant: 

Building Services Design

Complex M&E solution for a school sports centre



Founded in 1541, Northampton School for Boys is an 11-18 state funded single sex boys’ school. Girls are admitted to the Sixth Form. To meet the challenges of the 21st Century, the school wished to build a new performance centre to include a six lane, 25m competition pool, a fitness suite and a large dance studio with changing rooms. The school also required a flexible teaching space which can be opened out to the foyer when holding events.



Lighting the pool hall was a major challenge – lights cannot be positioned directly over water and must not reflect off the pool surface as lifeguards need a clear view of people in the water.  In addition, because the performance centre was to be built adjoining the existing sports hall, roof lines had to be maintained at the same height.  This created a shallow profile which made it very difficult to position the lighting at an appropriately high level. A further challenge was the live school environment and a 15-month construction period.



We were commissioned to provide full M&E design services, other than specialist pool items. Our work included all electrical design, ventilation, heating and cooling and public health. To address the roofing issue, we used large angled floodlights on the underside of the roof to reflect light back down and thereby illuminate the pool hall. Students and staff were kept safe during the works by a diversion around the construction area.



The project was completed on time and on budget, with the pool officially opened by double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington. The school now benefits from a brand new 25m competition pool complete with a moveable floor to accommodate different activities. The school can lower the floor to two metres for full water polo regulation matches or alternatively raise it to accommodate swimming lessons for beginners.
Funding was provided by the Cripps Foundation, with the centre being named after the late Edward Cripps, a former trustee.