Stoke Newington Watersports Centre

Location: London Borough of Hackney

Client: London Borough of Hackney

Sector: Education, Leisure and Sports

Cost: £3.5m

Status: Completed 2002


Civic Trust Award, 2002

The listed Filtration Building on Stoke Newington Reservoir has been transformed to accommodate a water sports and environmental centre. Originally built in 1937, more than a hundred years after the development of the reservoir, the construction of Thames Water's new Ring Main made it surplus to requirements. The whole area was released after a vigorous campaign by the local community to the London Borough of Hackney for education and recreation purposes. Marks Barfield sought to provide a simple functional design celebrating the best aspects of its heritage alongside a cutting edge teaching and sport facility.

This project illustrates the successful juxtaposition between new and old, and was developed in collaboration with the users and the community. The building's four-storey central tower has been retained and opened up to create a dramatic new reception containing the original wash water storage, air compression tanks and pipe work. This was created in addition to the original brief at no extra cost, and contains exhibition and function space alongside a cafe. The new wings accommodate high-ceilinged, north facing, naturally ventilated classrooms, changing rooms, an office, toilets, storage, meeting rooms, plant and a workshop.

This project is also a successful collaboration between Marks Barfield and the artist Charlie Holmes who installed two steel plates into the floor of the tower and designed the tower lighting to be reminiscent of the water once coursing through the building.

Sustainable and environment features:

  • Building orientation and form
  • Natural Ventilation