Bangor Aurora Complex

Ards & North Down Council

Client: Ards & North Down Council

Completion: March 2013

Value: £34.5m

Project Summary

As Northern Irelands first and only Olympic Standard 50m Pool this award-winning project was conceived as an elite sports facility from inception. The main pool hall can accommodate over 800 spectators within a large triple height space created by 52 glulam beams each being over 75m long. This impressive structural feat was recognised by awards at local and national level. Designed and delivered in partnership with specialist leisure architects S&P ltd we developed a solution which catered for both international swimming events and the day-to-day needs of the local community. By using movable booms & floors in the 50m pool it can be sub-divided into 3 separate pools of 13m / 25m / 9m with varying depths in each. This is augmented by a standalone competition diving pool. In addition, the centre has an impressive leisure pool area with slides and pirate ship for a different family leisure experience. The result is an outstanding aquatic centre which also includes a full complement of dry leisure facilities including 900m2 Sports Hall, Squash Courts, large gym and multipurpose rooms for spin / yoga / self-defence classes. Together with a full range of external synthetic and grass pitches the completed scheme provides a full sports and leisure offering on one compact site.


The Aurora Complex has become an instantly recognisable sports and leisure destination within Northern Ireland and contributed positively to North Downs portfolio of outstanding facilities. In particular this successful project also:

  • Reclaimed an important site with the Bangor Townscape by remediating an area of contaminated land. This environmentally sustainable approach was a key factor in the project’s success
  • Championed sustainable design by achieving a BREEAM Excellent Rating whilst also be nominated as an Achieving Excellence Sustainability Demonstration Project
  • Embraced exemplar Universal Access as a core design driver by collaborating closely with Disability Action and undergoing a rigorous audit upon completion
  • Minimised its impact on the adjoining properties by utilising a split-level design which reduced the overall height of this substantial building. This was key to securing an expedient Planning approval.

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