Gaia Architects

healthy buildings for healthy pursuits

McLaren Community Leisure Centre, Callander

Client: Stirling Council for the Callander and District Community

This £3.2million leisure centre was commissioned in 1996 and received research support from the DTI and SportScotland. It features the use of healthy materials and a unique method of ventilation to create a fresh and healthy indoor environment, which also saves energy.

Gaia employed innovative 'pore ventilation' technology to support SportScotland's policy of 'healthy buildings for healthy pursuits'. The building is the largest building worldwide to use Dynamic Insulation and the first building in the world to use the technique for a swimming pool. Significant care was taken to achieve airtightness and also to ensure delivery of a benign materials specification to ensure a healthy indoor climate.


The design followed a number of years of research by Gaia into moisture and air transfusive wall and ceiling systems. The design involves drawing air into the building through the cellulose insulation, effectively recovering heat, whilst also filtering the air. Lack of intake ductwork has health benefits and there is a potential associated reduction in plant cost.


The building was the subject of a research award - a two year post completion evaluation - to investigate the benefits. Gaia monitored the key innovative energy features of the building for two years and were able to undertake significant optimisation.


A Feasibility Study in 1994 predicted an energy budget well within best practice guidelines. The cost of energy for the building in 2004 is still less than predicted.


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