• WRC Brunnea - Washington Leisure Centre 1

Design Ideas for Leisure Buildings and Facilities

From sports stadiums, to swimming pools, a fitness suite or gym, to football pitches and village halls, a leisure centre is a building or site, usually owned and run by the city or borough council, to serve the valuable purpose of providing somewhere for local residents to relax, keep fit and socialise. They are usually fun and engaging spaces, used frequently and by all ages. Now, more than ever, the architecture and design of leisure buildings is being carefully considered to reflect all of these factors, and to create focal points for the community, whilst being sympathetic to the local area and its surroundings.

If you’re looking for inspiration for the design of your leisure building, we’ve put together this handy guide full of some of the most important factors worth considering to create a leisure building that ‘wows’!

Leisure Building Design Ideas


The appeal of a leisure building is more than just the facilities on offer inside. Thinking about how your building looks from the outside can have a big impact on how much it is used, its reputation as a safe and well-maintained place for people of all ages, and how it reflects the community it is in.


If you’re starting your building from scratch or adjusting its structure, careful architecture could create a shape that is both attractive and eye-catching. The Sydney Opera House is a fine example of a leisure building whose exterior was designed to ‘wow’ and as a result quickly became a globally recognised building.


There are many ways to upgrade the exterior appeal of your building without knocking it down and blowing the budget. Cladding a current building is a great option. The use of timber cladding can dramatically transform the appearance of your building without having to make any adaptions to the structure. Here at Norclad, we’ve completely transformed the exterior of a number of leisure buildings with our cladding to enhance the appearance of existing structures. Take a look at the case studies on our website of The Bristol Bears Training Facility, The Dartford Rugby Club and many others for further inspiration.

Accoya Dartford Rugby Club 3

Sympathetic to local area/surroundings

Ensuring the exterior of your leisure building is sympathetic to the local area is a key part of its design. Keeping on top of paintwork and any other maintenance needs is important to ensure it doesn’t start to look shabby. The use of timber cladding is becoming a popular choice for creating a building that fits naturally with the environment. If you are considering timber cladding, you may be surprised by the huge variety when it comes to colour thanks to the choice of wood and finish. You may even find an option that uses a species of wood that can be found locally or is a similar shade.

Individual Character

A simple, budget friendly option to enhance individual character to your leisure building could be to use paint to add a splash of colour. If you’re using cladding to create individual character, careful consideration of the different profiles can allow you to create defined lines or soft curves to create something that stands out in your community.

Bristol Bears 4


Mastering the exterior appeal of your leisure building is one thing, but the interior design also has a big role to play in creating a space that people enjoy spending time in.

Practical spaces

Making the entrance to a leisure building an attractive and practical space can be a great way to please visitors. If queues are likely to develop at busy times in the entrance, do people feel cramped or is there space to mingle, or something to read or view to keep them occupied? Simple ideas such as notice boards or trophy cabinets in the entrance of your leisure building can enhance the arrival experience. Many leisure buildings will have multiple aspects; changing rooms, spectator areas and cafes, all of which need practical spaces that have been carefully thought out.

Easy to Clean and Maintain

Creating an interior that is easy to clean and maintain is worth paying attention to in any design. The type of furniture can be considered, with leather or vinyl being easier to clean than upholstery, or investing in stain resistant material can have long-term gains. Even the coverings of your walls and ceilings can be considered as part of the design, whilst factoring in ease of cleaning and maintenance. Using more durable paint that is washable and will last longer can be especially important in high traffic areas in your building. Cladding is also an option for interior walls or ceilings and is particularly attractive for leisure buildings that consist of large spaces with high ceilings thanks to its low care and maintenance needs.


Choosing a variety of materials to create attractive features can be a great way to improve the interior look and feel of the building.  The interior use of wood can provide warmth – both literally thanks to its insulation properties, and aesthetically – great for large spaces. It’s a feature that could be also be used sparsely but with great effect. For example, cladding certain walls to distinguish different parts of a large open space like a café from the reception. Wood can also be a great design feature for leisure centres that provide musical facilities, such as a theatre, thanks to its acoustic properties.

Learn More About NORclad

Here at NORclad, we are a specialist manufacturer of wood cladding with over 40 years of experience. All of our products are produced in the UK or through our partner in Switzerland and we are proud of our commitment to the protection and sustainability of the environment and our planet. We fully research each of our suppliers to ensure they are from legal sources and with the appropriate government legislation in place. To find out more about how you could utilise one of the world’s truly natural and renewable resources to add the ‘wow factor’ to exterior or interior of your leisure building, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.

Learn More with NORclad

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If you’re stuck for inspiration and want to see working examples of our expertise, feel free to browse through our case studies.

Our Case Studies
2021-03-10T11:02:39+00:00February 24th, 2021|

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