While an associate at Hodder Associates, Adrian Friend was responsible for leading the design of Darlaston Swimming pool in Walsall.  The project, which won an RIBA Award, was funded by the Sports Lottery fund regenerating Darlaston, a town that was once the heart of manufacturing in the Black Country.

The architecture is derived from the hilltop setting and desire to bring daylight throughout.  The building consists of three main elements: an elegant, soaring folded timber roof, a curved red brick wall which wraps around one side and a 30m entrance ramp rooting the building to the landscape and facilitating disabled access.

The folded timber roof encloses the pool hall and provides an open, light filled environment The main 25 metre x 13 metre pool has seven lanes and is approved by the Amateur Swimming Association for competitions.  Alongside it is a 13 metre  x 7 metre instructional pool with full disabled access.

The curved red brick wall houses the changes rooms, providing privacy and a sense of security whilst allowing light to enter from above.  On the outside it orients visitors and guides them from the car park to the main entrance.  A red engineering brick reflects the local industrial heritage and civic architecture.

The entrance ramp in taking the visitor from street level to the hilltop main entrance, initiates a sequence of oblique views through the building intended to gradually reveal a composite picture of activities inside.


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