Lee Valley White Water Centre

Location Broxbourne, Hertfordshire
ServicesBuilding services, civil, structural and geotechnical engineering and sustainable design
ClientOlympic Delivery Authority & Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
ArchitectFaulknerBrowns Architects
Whitewater DesignersWhitewater Parks International

Landscape ArchitectsMVVA

Imagery© FaulknerBrowns Architects/Philip Vile

Gary Marshall

T +44 (0)191 213 1515

This award-winning artificial white water canoe course is a major multi-disciplinary engineering project. The centre hosted the Canoe Slalom competition during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The site accommodated some 12,000 spectators in the temporary stands. The Lee Valley White Water centre was designed with sustainability in mind and is expected to become a major leisure attraction in Hertfordshire.

Opened in spring 2011, it was the first new sporting complex to be completed and the only London 2012 venue to be opened to the public ahead of the Games.

The centre features a dual-channel facility that greatly reduces energy usage. The 'Olympic' Channel will host competitions for experienced canoeists, whilst the 'Legacy' Channel can be used for athlete training, and as a canoeing venue for visitors of all abilities. The 'Legacy' Channel uses 80% less power than the 'Olympic' Channel, which means the centre can be run much more efficiently after the Games.

A self-contained lake with its own independent pumping stations was also featured in the design. It is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. This solution considered the collection of rainfall, minimising evaporation and managing the water level drop when the courses are switched on. In addition, it successfully incorporated a dedicated treatment system, thus ensuring a high water quality standard.

The new facility building, which houses a reception, changing rooms, spectator viewing and equipment storage, was designed to achieve a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating. All of Cundall’s disciplines met the engineering challenges of designing this bespoke facility on a former landfill site.

  • RIBA Regional Awards 2012 - Spirit of Ingenuity Awards
  • IOC/IAKS Award for Exemplary Sports and Leisure Facilities 2013- bronze award for specialised sports facilities
  • IOC/IAKS Award for Exemplary Sports and Leisure Facilities 2013- IPC/IAKS Distinction