Wigan Life Centre
This ground breaking project breathes new life into the centre of Wigan.
The competition winning Wigan Life Centre brings together all the council functions including a swimming pool, library, one stop shop and PCT. The two buildings, (the Healthy Living Zone and the Information & Learning Zone) have meant that the council could sell off 6 other sites and reduce their overall energy bills as a result.
The site sits within a conservation area and The Information & Learning Zone, which includes the library, has remodelled a grade 2 listed building. We retained the façade of the original municipal building to the south and rebuilt a new large open plan library behind. The buildings are set 3m apart to create a distinct contrast between the new and the old. The existing façade acts as a brise soleil to the new building helping to reduce internal heat gain.
The biggest impact was the introduction of the two new public spaces that were not originally part of the brief. Our masterplan for the centre of Wigan highlighted the need for a new place in the heart of the town. The new public space in front of the library delivers this.
To the south of the site sits the Healthy Living Zone which includes the pool. The public pool sits within the atrium of the offices using the office as a thermal buffer to the pool. A low energy system called Termodeck is used to keep the office comfortable and helps to lower the buildings energy bills.
The two sites are connected with a CHP plant that is sized to allow expansion to the rest of the surrounding area should it be desired. This was part of our energy masterplan. A second new public town square was introduced between this and the existing town hall to create a more formal place for ceremonies. The orientation of the site meant that we were able to provide large fully glazed north facing entrances to welcome the public in to these vibrant new buildings.
This project provides an exemplar approach to estate reconciliation across the country. The project has been widely applauded and won many national and international awards.
In collaboration with LCE Architects