Joy for ‘Save Oasis Swindon’ campaigners as their SOS is heard meaning the iconic dome will ‘Live Forever’.
Swindon Oasis is Listed
Thanks to intervention by Historic England, the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon now has Grade II Listed status.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) acted on advice from Historic England to award Grade II listing status to the Oasis dome and the lagoon pool.
The Oasis Leisure Centre, designed by Peter Sargent of Gillinson, Barnett and Partners in 1974, opened on New Year’s Day, 1976. The swimming pool is the best and earliest example of a new building type. The style went on to gain huge popularity in the 1970s and ‘80s. It marked the cultural shift from swimming for fitness to swimming for fun. Most of the early examples of these buildings are now lost to redevelopment.
Historic England said
“The 45-metre swimming pool dome is an architecturally-striking and technically accomplished structure. On the outside, it rises from a grassy bank. While inside, the aluminium spaceframe provides a dramatic setting for the pool. It’s well-suited to its use, having withstood the corrosive pool environment. While the glazing isn’t original, the architectural concept remains clear. The architects planned it with care to create a fun and attractive leisure space.
The key features of the concept survive, including the free-form lagoon pool with its sloping, beach-like approach. Also the infrastructure for a tropical planting scheme. Its design remains synonymous with the early development of the leisure pool.”
RIBA were quoted as saying:
Demolition of the 1970s glazed pleasure dome would destroy the last of an entire typology.
While the Twentieth Century Society commented:
‘Its ambitious design prioritised public leisure, health and wellbeing, and has served Wiltshire well for forty-five years. The prospect of losing this architecturally significant amenity spurred a grassroots campaign from concerned local residents. A campaign which has, in the end, led to it getting national protection.’
Whilst SBC acknowledges the high level of support for the Oasis, they continue to state the Oasis has no architectural significance. But we hope now this decision will make clear to them that the Oasis is a heritage asset. One whose design and architecture are both things worthy of admiration.
The listing includes only the domed pool. The dry-sports side of the building: the waterslides, their launch tower and splash pool along with the linking entrance block and the service structures are not included in the listing.
The SOS campaign filled with joy at this news, it goes without saying.
We’d like to thank all our supporters. Here are some related articles about the listing and about the Oasis in general.
The Twentieth Century Society –
Live Forever: Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre listed Grade II – The Twentieth Century Society (c20society.org.uk)
Historic England –
Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon Listed | Historic England
Architects Journal –
Demolition of Swindon ‘flying saucer’ averted as leisure complex is listed (architectsjournal.co.uk)
Swindon Advertiser –
Oasis Leisure Centre’s iconic dome given Grade II listed status by Historic England | Swindon Advertiser
Born Again Swindonian –
and related: https://swindonian.me/2021/06/27/a-swindon-health-and-leisure-history/
‘Save the Oasis’ Founder