Dinton Activity Centre by HLM Architects

The borough’s first Net Zero Carbon building will provide new improved facilities for Dinton Activity Centre that has the users and visitors at its heart, greatly increasing opportunities for the local community to participate in activities throughout the year in a bespoke and unique design.

Design Approach

The new centre will be a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement of the current venue that places the community’s needs at the front and centre. We have worked closely with the centre’s leadership team and other key community stakeholders to provide a design that celebrates the nearby natural surroundings while creating a sense of place and having a positive impact on future users.

This new £2.4 million scheme provides a state-of-the-art educational and leisure facility for the local community in a new two-storey building that complements its natural lakeside surroundings in Dinton County Park.

Taking inspiration from the setting, the new building is designed in its scale and appearance to connect with its location, by having two interlinked volumes that are clad in Siberian larch that will weathers over time in order to blend in with the natural landscape.

The new centre replaces a former not fit for purpose building with accommodation to meet all of the operational, user and visitor needs – an activity hall, adults and children’s changing areas, dual-use teaching and conference spaces, and a coffee shop opening on to a spectator terrace overlooking the lake and park.

To support the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, the centre is Net Zero Carbon, with several eco-friendly benefits including windcatchers, photovoltaic panels on the roof and air source heat pumps which will significantly reduce the centre’s overall energy demand.

Embedded sustainability

Sustainable principles are at the heart of the design of the activity centre, enabling the building to be Net Zero Carbon thanks to a range of sustainability features that are fully integrated into the design.

Windcatchers on the roof provide natural ventilation to the large communal spaces within the centre and their use removes the requirement for mechanical ventilation of these high-occupancy spaces.

Air source heat pumps provide heat and hot water to the centre and Photovoltaic panels on the roof and within the car park provide for the electrical requirements of the centre and will allow the centre to become a net exporter of energy to the national grid.

Though not complete yet, the centre is already being used as a case study for how local authorities across the country can successfully develop Net Zero Carbon buildings.


Dinton Activity Centre designed by HLM Architects London Studio
Dinton Activity Centre Designed in collaboration with Reds10

“The new Dinton Activity Centre is set to become a fantastic asset for the local community, and a powerful symbol of Wokingham Borough Council’s commitment to become Carbon Neutral by 2030. HLM have designed an innovative building that fits in beautifully with the surrounding country park, and the new activity centre will be a building that residents of the borough will be proud of for years to come.”

Tim Searle, Project Manager WBC