The Chelsea Club provides private sports facilities for its members, including a 25 m level deck swimming pool, 200 m running track at high level around the perimeter, sports injury clinic, cardiovascular and aerobic studios, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna; this is associated with the Chelsea football ground at Stamford Bridge. The top floor of the building houses the Chelsea World of Sport, an interactive exhibition explaining the relationship between physiological performance and sporting achievement. This is linked by a bridge to the adjacent stadium.
The use and mass of the building are clearly articulated. The main spaces are accommodated with two 3-storey blocks either side of a glazed linkwhich brings daylight into the heart of the building and contains the central stair and glazed lift. High level brise soleil protect the south elevation from the sun. Escape stairs, lifts and main plant are concealed in louvred enclosures at either end of the building.
The lighting brief was unusual in that due to the need for privacy, views 'out from' and 'into' the facility were to be excluded, but the impression of a daylit space was desired.
The exterior impression of the building is of white wall cladding, whilst the interior reminds one of the effect of Japanese shoji
Section screens, as a simple backround to the working areas.
The appearance is gained from the use of vandal-resistant, light- diffusing fibreglass panels. This material, called 'Kalwall', which spans from floorto ceiling around the perimeter of the space allows daylight through to all the major spaces of the interior during the day, whilst at night it allows the artificial light from the interior, to spill out a glow to the exterior facade, obviating the need for any exterior floodlighting to register the form ofthe building.
The artificial lighting had to provide glarefree light to the interior, so as not to be disturbing to the members, some of whom may be carrying out exercises lying on their backs looking upwards to the ceiling. The solution adopted is to stretch membrane ceilings between the beams, which are back lit by concealed fluorescent lamps.
This solution, which is a method of daylight linking, is very successful providing a light level which can be varied from low for exercises such as yoga, to high levels where this is required. The combination of daylight received through the 'Kalwall' panels and variable artificial light from the stretched membrane panels provides a calm soft light with no hard shadows, ideal for the sporting activities below.
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