Design Storey Architects – Luxe Fitness

‘Luxe Fitness’ is a conversion of a Grade II Listed former library, located on a prominent corner of the Bedminster Conservation Area, into a new fitness centre for South Bristol. The ambition of the project was to provide Bristol with a new luxury fitness experience at an affordable price that could be experienced by everyone, in the unique setting of a listed building.

Creating a positive and stimulating fitness environment, has encouraged people who would not normally visit a gym to join, increasing their health and wellbeing. The original building ran over two floors. To make use of the large volume three new mezzanines were added re-imagining the building as a sequence of spaces for exercising.

These mezzanine structures were sensitively inserted into the historic structure increasing the floor area of the building from 6000 to 7300 sq.ft. The design concept for the interior was to create a series of spaces that could be tailored to different fitness activities, cardio, functional area, free weights and spin.

The historic nature of the building and the intimate nature of the spaces ensures the gym contrasts with other fitness facilities within Bristol and the surrounding area which are often large single volume spaces located on retail parks.

Images courtesy of Design Storey Architects

Images courtesy of Design Storey Architects

The steel mezzanine structures are industrial in character, contrasting with the existing building, articulating new from old and are designed to be reversible. The former lecture hall stage on the first floor, which had been enclosed with modern partitions, was re-opened to the main space to create a dramatic spin studio and reinstated the proportions of the space.

The mezzanines have transformed the user’s experience of the building, providing unique vantage points of the gym and a sense of activity that animates the streetscape.

The original Edwardian terrazzo, parquet and maple strip flooring was repaired and exposed, contrasting with the utilitarian finishes normally found in gyms and providing a practical yet authentic finish.

Other period features such as the picture & dado rails, cornicing, windows, staircase & proscenium arch were retained and celebrated with a fresh colour scheme. Careful consideration was given to the design of the spaces, and the location of the equipment zones, ensures the space is attractive to all types of members both male and female.

This has been particularly successful, and female membership is high due to the welcoming & inclusive nature of the spaces. The free weight section, one of the more intimating areas for female members, is located on the top floor away from the main entrance and mirrors can only be found in the studio space.

The reception desk doubles up as a juice bar to promote healthy living and create a welcoming entrance. In the first year the gym has reached its target membership, creating a long term viable use for the building and re-activating this neglected corner of Bedminster.

This project demonstrates that creating a positive and stimulating fitness environment, has encouraged people who would not normally visit a gym to join, increasing their health and wellbeing.