Building a digital community in an iconic heritage building.
Opened in the 1870s, Ashton Old Baths is one of the finest example of a former public swimming baths in the North of England. Closed in 1975, the building remained derelict for 40 years until Tameside Council and Oxford Innovation stepped in with a bold vision to reinvent the space for the digital age.
Tameside Council & Oxford Innovations
Phase 1 work began in 2014 to create a new digital hub and workspaces for start-up businesses. The design team, lead by MCAU, created a completely independent, freestanding timber structure within the former pool hall. The innovative, three storey structure houses flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, communal spaces and a rooftop events terrace. The exterior also underwent complete restoration, with structural work to reinforce and enhance the building’s original features.
The popularity of the space saw demand outstrip supply, and Phase 2 began in 2019 to add more workspaces along with a café, new reception area and an award winning data centre.
CWC were responsible for the MEP design for all the phase 2 works, including a new dedicated substation, remote chiller compound, internal and external lighting and integration of Phase 2 systems into the existing Phase 1 works.
The project is testament to how a sympathetic, yet innovative renovation can extend the life of a historic building. Heritage constraints and financial viability left the building abandoned for 40 years, but this innovative transformation has given it a new lease of life.
Ashton Old Baths now lives on as a valuable digital and community hub, which once again plays an active role in the local economy.
• Winner: Global Data Centre Architecture Award 2021
• Nominated: Architect’s Journal Retrofit Awards 2022
• Nominated: Building Awards: Refurbishment Project of the Year 2022