Swimming baths in Reading to become homes for key workers

Arthur Hill Pool, a former swimming pool dating back to 1912 was donated for community use by the family of Arthur Hill, a former mayor of Reading. The site in East Readings King’s Road is to be redeveloped to provide 15 new homes for key workers in the community.

The affordable housing scheme is to sit on the heritage site and architects Saunders have been careful to preserve a number of the much-loved swimming pool’s original features in their design. Important features within the entrance hall will be retained such as the existing tiled flooring, stair and handrails as well as the much-loved surrounding feature frame into the former ticket kiosk.

The site has been curated in such a way as to retain the architectural quality of the pool frontage and sense of nostalgia and memory associated with it by delivering a scheme which offers good quality new housing in a distinctive, characterful setting. In simple terms, the new-build entities have been designed in such a way as to complement the retained building, by removing the unused shell of the pool and rear extension and replacing with high quality, sustainable, modern living apartments.

Decorative detailing such as extruded brickwork and recessed windows adds visual interest to the façade, the shadows cast by these articulations in the masonry adds to the decorative aesthetic of the frontal building.

The communal entrances to the new dwellings are recessed, forming a pleasant social space in which the residents are able to interact on arrival and departure. A newly-formed courtyard central to the development will also create further opportunities for social interaction. The design concept behind the courtyard space has been taken from the footprint of the northern end of the existing pool. The hardscaping is organised into individual lanes and is a subtle reminder of the sites former use.

Martin Williams, of Saunders, commented: ‘Arthur Hill Pool has been an important part of the community over the years and we have been careful to preserve and incorporate its key features within the new development whilst providing robust housing for key workers.’

The building will have sustainability at the forefront and meet Passivhaus standards. Arthur Hill Pool is one of many sites which have been sited by Reading Borough Council for affordable housing development.