Byron Quarter is a leisure-led masterplan in Harrow, North-West London, that places the health and wellbeing of its community at its heart. Located on a prominent site on the edge of the Byron Recreation Ground, our design reimagines and revitalises the park edge with a collection of upgraded sports and community facilities.
Byron Quarter is currently home to the borough’s main leisure centre, a big-box industrial structure surrounded by car parking and services. In addition to a sports hall and a swimming pool, the centre includes the 800-person Byron Hall events space; an indoor and outdoor bowls centre; skate park; tennis courts; and an indoor gymnastics school; all of which will need significant investment to remain operational in the coming years. In their existing arrangement, the pedestrian connections between them is poor, and the dominance of car parking adjacent to the Recreation Ground has left the leisure centre and the surrounding neighbourhood physically cut off from the park, inhibiting access and visibility.
Our masterplan reworks this relationship to create a fully visible and permeable entrance into Byron Park with newly orientated leisure and community buildings, including a 150m outdoor multigenerational play space embedded into the park landscape. To develop our vision, we carried out in-depth research and engagement with the community and leisure providers to understand, fulfil and balance the specific needs of sporting facilities and demonstrate how large, fixed volumes such as swimming pools and basketball courts could be accommodated in alternative ways.
The outcome is a set of typological hybrids, with mixed vertical stacks and co-location to create space and flexibility for different activities to sit together. United by a set of character details, this family of buildings are arranged and orientated to maximise long views out, views in, and greater visual and physical connections between different spaces to encourage participation and collaboration among those who will use the facilities.
Imperative to the masterplan, which also involves the re-planning of pedestrian routes and the creation of 820 homes, was the need for all leisure buildings to remain operational during development. An intelligent 10 year phasing programme of strategic reconfiguration and replacement will enable this to happen and support the delivery of an updated Metroland neighbourhood that is capable of supporting the health and wellbeing of its community long into the future.