Holmes Place Elstree

From aisles to lanes: converting a supermarket into a swimming pool

In November 1997, Holmes Place asked Walters & Cohen to design a health club in a disused supermarket building that was to be converted into a leisure complex. The existing building is a single storey brick structure with a car park on the roof. The site has a church and graveyard along one boundary and a low-density suburban residential street on the other.

The developers obtained planning permission for a cinema, restaurant, bowling alley and amusement arcade. The health club was the only unit not accessed through the main entrance from the high street.

Planning approval was obtained to move the entrance away from the service yard to the side of the building adjacent to the churchyard, which allowed a more efficient and dynamic arrangement of the interior space. The plan is very deep with limited opportunity for natural light. A ‘street’ was designed to draw as much daylight as possible into the deepest areas of the plan. The reception area and club room are at one end of the street and the pool hall (with a fully glazed end wall) is at the other, with the main gym area between. Male and female changing rooms, exercise studios and administrative accommodation are arranged on either side of the central street.


ClientHolmes Place

CompletionJan 1999

Area2000 m2

Total value£3.5m

QSStace Management

ContractorHaymills Contractors

Structural engineerAbraham Consulting Engineers

Building ServicesWhitbybird