Royal Commonwealth Pool

  • Royal Commonwealth Pool changing area
  • Royal Commonwealth Pool corner view
  • Royal Commonwealth Pool diving boards
  • Royal Commonwealth Pool main pool

1 / Introduction

The refurbishment and upgrading of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh was completed in April 2012. The £25m refurbishment of this Grade A listed structure has twice played host to the Commonwealth Games – once in 1970 and again in 1986. The project was initiated by Edinburgh City Council in a bid to upgrade diving facilities ahead of Scotland hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Following a massive renovation programme the building has been transformed into a state of the art sport and leisure facility. It now contains the largest and longest swimming pool in Edinburgh, 50m length, 8 lanes and a normal depth of 2m, which can also be split into two 25m pools with the use of a boom.

Alongside the main pool is the 25m diving pool which has a movable floor allowing flexibility in the aquatic activities the centre can offer. There is also a purpose built dry dive area for land based diving training.  To create a valuable community leisure facility the ‘Commie Pool’ also offer a state of the art gym, three fitness studios, a greatly enhanced changing village with family area, a new children’s soft play area and a cafe.

The layout of the building has been restored to enhance and promote the use of natural light within the facility as was the intention of the original architects in 1967. The original windows surrounding the perimeter of the building and internally have been retained as has the Terrazzo flooring within the foyer and reception areas. Diving board columns and staircases have been reinstated to replicate the original diving board layout and the original “hot” seats located around the pools have also been reinstated. The new diving board configuration now meets with international requirements for major diving events.

The client had a strong emphasis on sustainability. Water is conserved by using water saving appliances. Waste water from the showers will be recycled and used for toilet flushing. Further grey water recycling is implemented by recycling filter backwash and returning it back into the circulating water. A 500m2 solar roof will generate 458,000kWh saving 87,000kg/CO2 from entering the atmosphere.


Key facts

  • The largest and longest swimming pool in Edinburgh
  • A 25metre diving pool with movable floor
  • The pools have 400,000 tiles and contain just under a million gallons of water

The Project Details

Client: The City of Edinburgh Council

Architect: S & P Architects

BuroHappold services: Building services engineering, structural engineering, computation and simulation analysis, lighting